Last updateMon, 25 May 2015 2pm

LOS ANGELES Monday, May 25th 2015 8:33


  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…


  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…

ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before









LA Must Move Beyond Coal Now! To Save Money, Protect Health, Create Jobs!

ENERGY PRIORITIES - Last week on this site, Jack Humphreville assailed a forward-thinking proposal to redirect LADWP customer bills away from an out-of-state, dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive coal-fired power plant and toward job-creating and money-saving local clean energy. (Link)
Tossing around unverified cost estimates and poorly rationalized arguments, Mr. Humphreville’s misguided and short-sighted stubbornness would keep Los Angeles tied to coal through the rest of this decade, putting customers at risk of paying more than we have to and limiting job growth here in LA.

Los Angeles currently relies on out-of-state coal-fired power for roughly 40% of our electricity – more than we get from any other source.  Getting power from coal is damaging to public health, the environment and DWP customer’s pocketbooks.  As LADWP maps out where it will get power from in coming years, there is an opportunity to protect customers from avoidable rate increases and to create jobs in Los Angeles by wisely investing in energy-saving measures and sustainable energy sources.  

As has been previously pointed out on CityWatch, the cost of dirty energy is rising across the nation, which means that continued dependence on dirty fuels will cause our customer bills to continue to increase.

When power rates were considered last year, we saw an excellent example of how our pocketbooks are put at risk by fossil fuels.  Our reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels was one of the primary reasons that LADWP fell into debt (and was thus requesting a rate increase).  

Even worse, a report commissioned by Councilmember Jan Perry found that our continued reliance on dirty energy was also going to create financial troubles for us all going forward. From PA Consulting’s February 2010 ECAF report:

The current undercollection in the ECAF account is approximately $125 million. This undercollection resulted from the cap on ECAF changes that failed to allow rates to keep up with rising costs. The majority of the current undercollection resulted from a sharp increase in natural gas prices that was experienced in 2008.

Put another way, the reason LADWP ran up its debt and went looking to customers for a rate increase was over dependence on fossil fuels.

Looking ahead to assess future financial risk, the Councilmember Perry-commissioned PA Consulting report had the following to say:

Coal prices are projected to increase substantially over the next five years, especially at IPP. This has a very strong impact on ECAF costs. While these prices are strongly influenced by market forces, minimizing the extent of these increases should be a major strategic focus of the Department.

So, let’s review. Looking back, our over-dependence on fossil fuels was the primary reason the utility fell into debt. Looking ahead, our reliance on out-of-state and increasingly expensive coal is projected to have a “very strong” impact on rates.

The Navajo Generating Station, due to its ignominious status as one of the largest sources of smog pollution in the country, is facing a ruling by the EPA to mandate upwards of $700 million in pollution controls. This same ruling at SCE’s neighboring Four Corners plant was enough to send the investor owned utility running from the plant, and should likewise inform LADWP’s outlook for its ownership status at NGS.  

Rather than shipping more money out of Los Angeles to keep a dirty and increasingly expensive coal plant open, LADWP should invest that same money – your money – in local clean energy resources that will create needed jobs right here in Los Angeles.  

The longer we wait to do what needs to be done and move beyond coal, the more expensive coal power will become and the less valuable our stake in Navajo Generating Station will be.

Los Angeles cannot afford to keep wasting money on dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive coal-fired power.  Change can be scary to some, but a change in how we get power in LA is necessary if we are going to save money and put people to work.  

Find out more about the effort to move Los Angeles beyond coal at

(Evan Gillespie is the Beyond Coal Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club. Reach him at Twitter: -cw

Tags: coal, coal fired power, fossil fuels, smog, LADWP, Jack Humphreville, ECAF, Jan Perry, energy, DWP rates, jobs

Vol 9 Issue 80
Pub: Oct 7, 2011