Breaking News: LA City Council Unanimously Supports LADWP’s Federal Lawsuit to Stop the Water Waste in the Owens Valley
On November 1, 2012 LADWP announced that the Los Angeles City Council yesterday unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s lawsuit seeking to halt what LADWP alleges are excessive and unlawful regulations and costs being imposed on Los Angeles water consumers by the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (Great Basin) in the Owens Valley area of California.
According to the LADWP lawsuit, Great Basin continues to issue orders to LADWP to further expand the area of dust control beyond that which LADWP is responsible and continues to seek to fund its own operations at the expense of Los Angeles water ratepayers.
“The City Council today stood up for Los Angeles consumers, who are being unlawfully obligated to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to mitigate dust beyond that for which Los Angeles is responsible. In addition, fresh water is being wasted to reduce dust when other low-water or waterless options exist,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols. “While LADWP continues to honor our obligations to protect the environment by controlling dust for which we are responsible, we simply will not stand idly by as billions of gallons of LA water are wasted at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to our customers.”
The proposed City Council resolution states that “the City has spent more than $1.2 billion toward constructing and operating 42 square miles of dust controls and has committed to an additional 3 square miles, resulting in 45 square miles. …[At] the completion of 45 square miles of dust controls the City will have fulfilled its mitigation obligations and illustrated LADWP’s willing interest in addressing the air quality impacts of its water gathering activities on and around Owens Lake.”
The LADWP remains committed to ongoing dust control on the 45 square miles, and seeks to use other proven means to control dust other than by wasting scarce drinking water. LADWP has objected to orders by Great Basin to once again, expand the dust control area further, at a cost of $400 million to LADWP water customers.
“Already, nearly $10 from every $100 of the average LA resident’s water bill goes towards the work we perform at Owens Lake. This money goes to pay for the 95,000 acre feet of water per year that is poured on the lake bed – more than what is used by the entire city of San Francisco annually – there comes a time when you mast say enough is enough,” said LA City Councilmember Tony Cardenas. “Expanding this project again is an abuse of the residents of Los Angeles, especially when we consider how far they have strayed from the original agreement reached between the city and the Great Basin.”
The City Council resolution also describes various objectionable and unlawful actions by Great Basin, including “continu[ing] to issue orders to the City to control dust arising from Owens Lake in excess of the City’s agreement, causation, and legal obligation” and “unreasonably charg[ing] the City for the general costs of government and excessive costs of outside attorneys.”
The unanimous adoption of the resolution signifies that the City Council “affirms, supports and endorses the legal position and the filing of a lawsuit by the LADWP acting on behalf of water ratepayers.”
More information on this issue can be found at www.ladwp.com/OwensLake.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Unveils new and improved official website at www.LADWP.com
The New www.LADWP.com Features Intuitive Layout, Self-Service Capabilities and Offers 24/7 Service and Information About the Nation’s Largest Municipal Utility.
On May 14, 2012 The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) today announced the launch of its new and improved official website,www.LADWP.com.
The English/Spanish bilingual site is more user-friendly and features a modern, updated design with streamlined navigation and improved self-service capabilities. Residential and commercial water and power customers can now access improved bill view and payment options, online applications for rebates and low income discounts, view electric and water consumption charts and graphs to understand their usage trends, view past bills and track service requests.
The website also features real-time neighborhood power outage maps and information and also comes in a mobile version for customers who use smart phones and other handheld devices.
“The new www.LADWP.com features improvements in terms of appearance, ease and convenience,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols. “But more importantly, users now have 24/7 access to information that can directly impact their quality of life, including neighborhood power outage maps and water and power consumption charts to help estimate future bills. Our new online presence furthers our ability to provide the high quality online customer service experiences our customers expect.”
The new website houses detailed information on the relationship between the LADWP and the early growth of the City of Los Angeles. LADWP financial information, reports, electric and water rates, Board of Water and Power Commission agendas and community information are still readily available on the website (click “About Us”). The site also features new customer service video tutorials and information on topics such as: How to read your water and electric meters, the Low-Income Discount Program, energy and water conservation, and the “Charge Up LA” electric vehicle program.
LADWP’s website is among the most frequented municipal websites in the nation. First launched in 1995, nearly 200,000 users log-in to the website each month with more than 120,000 of these users viewing and paying their bill online.
Customers can provide feedback on the new website by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the website and then selecting “Email Us.”
The new www.LADWP.com is part of a major initiative to improve the quality of the customer experience. The initiative will address specific process, organizational and technology improvements in customer service, including replacement of the LADWP’s 30+ year old Customer Information System (CIS).
To read the original press release visit http://www.ladwpnews.com/go/doc/1475/1430887/
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Editor’s Note: We tried the website today on June 13, 2012 and we can say that at the beginning we were not sure why we need to update our password and security questions but, then later it was easy to navigate, pay our power bill, even shows the bill been populated instantly via PDF. Congrats to LADWP staff on this huge improvement with your customers.
On Thursday, February 9, 2012 The Los Angeles City Council approved an adjustment (rate increase) to the City of Los Angeles’ Water Rate Ordinance, an action that will ensure that LADWP has sufficient revenues to complete upcoming projects necessary to comply with federal and state water quality regulations and meet compliance deadlines. The modifications include a 35-cent increase to the Water Quality Improvement Adjustment Factor, a component of the rate LADWP charges customers for water, which prior to this adjustment was insufficient to fund major legally mandated drinking water quality projects that are the subject of a compliance agreement entered into by the LADWP with the California Department of Public Health and United States Environmental Protection Agency.
“Keeping the water safe for our customers is the Water System’s top priority and to do that we need to comply with drinking water quality regulations,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols. “Water rates in Los Angeles, even with this increase, remain competitive with other utilities in the region while allowing us to proceed with construction of urgently needed drinking water quality projects. It also protects our water customers from paying more over the long-term by avoiding significant penalties and fines that would result from failing to comply with legal mandates. We are grateful to the City Council for recognizing the urgency of this request.”
Compliance with State and Federal water quality regulations requires major investment in LADWP’s water distribution system, including nearly $600 million in new contracts that must be awarded in the next 12 months. The first of these contracts is for the Headworks Reservoir for $218 million, as part of LADWP’s compliance requirement to cover, bypass or remove from service all 10 water reservoirs in the Los Angeles basin. Five have been covered or bypassed to date, and five more remain — including Silver Lake and Ivanhoe, which will be replaced by the Headworks Reservoir.
The modifications to the Water Rate Ordinance approved by City Council today are subject to review by the Mayor, and are expected to take effect in late March 2012.
On Monday, April 25, 2011 The LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols released the following statement regarding a report on KNBC Channel 4 on delayed billings.
“The LADWP processes 50,000 bills per day and has approximately two million water and electric meters, which generate over 12 million bills per year. Commercial meters are billed monthly and residential meters are billed bi-monthly.
Over 99% of all LADWP bills are billed on time. Only about ¼ of one percent of our customers can experience multiple periods of delayed bills due to activities such as field investigations, meter surveys or replacements, or situations where a meter cannot be accessed by a meter reader.
The examples cited in the KNBC story were not in any way representative of this extraordinarily favorable rate for on-time billing. However, we understand that delayed billing is troubling to any customer affected in this way. That is why when these situations are identified we work with the customer to pay off the amount due over an extended period of time equal to the length of our delay. In the event that payment arrangement is a burden to the customer, LADWP accommodates customer repayment plans.
Next month LADWP will launch a new bill format that will provide better and clearer information to our customers regarding amounts due, historical usage information and other useful features that will make identifying a delayed bill easier.
We regret these situations when they occur and will work with any customer who has experienced a delayed bill to successfully resolve the matter in as fair and compassionate a way as possible.”
Photo credit to: Google
Editor’s Note: We have to agree with Mr. Ron Nichols when he says they work with customers when they are having financial hardship. They work with the customer to bring their account current.