DWP in fine condition despite occasional tic

Home   /   DWP in fine condition despite occasional tic

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week What is worrisome is that over the past two or three years, both state and local politicians have been getting away with promoting a politically correct energy agenda for California. That agenda holds that global climate change and other environmental reasons must drive energy policy, so renewable energy from the sun, wind, biomass and other sources must be emphasized, along with conservation. Coal-fired or other, more environmentally harmful ways to make electricity must be discouraged for the state, which imports a lot of its energy from throughout the West. But high costs for oil and natural gas are helping make new technologies for use of so-called “clean coal” more commercially attractive. To completely close the door on use of coal-produced electricity by the state or the city is shortsighted. Similarly, a mindless, do-good-by-any-means approach to mandating more electricity from the wind and the sun is also unrealistic. Like clean coal, a lot of renewable energy is more costly and just getting into the realm of being commercially viable. While mandates can help build a larger market and drive down costs, this eventuality also will not happen magically. Still, the overall picture at the DWP is positive. The utility has had its electric rates frozen for a decade. It has paid down massive amounts of debt rather than lower rates during that time span, which is argued to be better in the long haul for consumers. It has reinvested more than $1 billion in its infrastructure and sought its own supplies of natural gas in Wyoming. As a result, the often-criticized city utility has an A-level credit rating, provides tens of millions of dollars annually to the city treasury and has excess power-supply capacity exceeding 20 percent. During the infamous 2000-2001 state power crisis, DWP customers suffered no rolling blackouts, and in fact the municipal utility made several hundred million dollars extra in revenues, most of which is still owed to the DWP by the state. Large outages should not be tolerated, but they also are not an indication that the wheels have fallen off DWP or that we need City Hall to put it all back together. Richard Nemec is a Los Angeles-based writer covering energy for several national trade publications. Write to him by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! While each new power outage recently, no matter how relatively small and explainable, brought increased hand-wringing and finger-pointing at City Hall, we need a reality check on electricity supplies and the city-run utility that provides them in Los Angeles. While elsewhere in L.A. there are hemorrhaging problems – in crime, public education, low-income housing and homelessness – the mayor and City Council don’t need a new investigation every time the lights flicker at City Hall. Granted, the Department of Water and Power, with its political-insider general manager, might pay closer attention to the power system serving downtown, but if a rate increase looms or added investment is needed in new equipment, we don’t need a political investigation. The most recent cause to view with alarm was the DWP’s admission that the shutting down of the massive Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona, from which the city utility gets 11 percent of its supplies, may cause local retail rates to increase. That’s because DWP officials said the need to replace the nuclear power with more expensive natural gas-produced electricity was costing an extra $300,000 daily. If the nuclear plant stays offline for months, the accumulated added costs for the DWP might require an electricity rate boost, the first in more than a decade. While this isn’t welcome news, it shouldn’t cause a lot of consternation. last_img

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