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EDITORIAL GREED POWER DWP FEE SYSTEM PUNISHES SOUND ENERGY POLICY.

PROVING that no good deed in Los Angeles city government goes unpunished, the Department of Water and Power plans to start socking large organizations that generate some of their own electricity in clean, environmentally friendly ways.

Forget green power. Clearly ``greed power'' is what fuels the decision- making process at the DWP.

Rather than rewarding organizations that do their part to keep the air clean and sustain our straitened energy system, come January, the DWP would begin penalizing them - apparently just to make a buck.

Those organizations include the Los Angeles Community College District and L.A. County government - both of which are taxpayer-funded. So, ultimately, the cost will be borne by L.A. taxpayers - the very same group the DWP has tried to punish with a slew of new water-rate increases.

Officials at the DWP, of course, claim that this isn't about making money but simply covering costs. Institutions that generate their own green power rely on the DWP for backup should their systems fail. Providing backup support, DWP officials claim, costs money.

And that explanation might just make sense, except that in the case of the LACCD, the DWP's fee would make self-generation even more expensive than just buying the DWP's power outright.

That is, the DWP charges less for using some of its power than for not using it - creating a clear disincentive for self-generation.

Worse yet, since 1997, the DWP has actually charged the Los Angeles Unified School District discounted power rates in exchange for not generating any green power of its own.

That is, the DWP is actively discouraging green power.

The irony is that the DWP pursues its anti-green agenda at a time when the city has set goals for greater clean-energy use. By 2010, the city has called for 13 percent of DWP power to come from renewable sources - a figure that's expected to climb to 20 percent by 2017.

But sound energy has never been as important to the DWP brass as making more money to feed the department's legions of high-paid employees and funneling more money into well-connected contractors and friends of City Hall.

And so it's up to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has pledged to make L.A. a greener city with an saner government, to intervene.

Because the greed power that has made L.A. government a place where good deeds get punished and special interests get rewarded must not also undermine our public and environmental health.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 3, 2005
Words:408
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