Ratepayers Revolt Against LA DWP's Charter Measure RRR

Angelenos face a blizzard of ballot measures, but ratepayers with persistent billing problems at LA's Department of Water and Power are speaking up about how local Charter Measure RRR is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

It's ballot label seems benign but the measure removes the last bits of the unaccountable bureaucracy's accountability to the City Council and Mayor for rate hikes, contracts, and billing problems, like the ones that have plagued ratepayers for years without lessening.

If you want to know why you should vote against RRR on the LA city ballot, meet 73 year old Velma Mathews, who went to the ER because of LADWP's ongoing billing fiasco.

Columnist Steve Lopez told Velma's story in the Los Angeles Times weeks ago, suggesting that if DWP cannot fix her bill, maybe it should at least pay for her ambulance ride. DWP still hasn't addressed the problem and Velma's still losing sleep!

We've been fighting DWP's inability to fix its billing problems for years and Velma's story reminds us there are tragic human consequences when bureaucracies go awry and politicians look away.

Now the management at DWP wants more power over rate hikes, contracts and billing decisions through LA Charter Measure RRR -- which consumer advocates are calling a "Rotten Ratepayer Ripoff." The city fathers are going along because they want to wash their hands of the mess. But more accountability and transparency is what's going to fix DWP, not less.

Consumer Watchdog and Food and Water Watch are urging LA voters to vote no on RRR and render their own verdict on DWP's mismanagement. If DWP cannot get its billing right, how can we trust it with more power and no oversight.

Velma Mathews is just one of many ratepayers who have come to Consumer Watchdog with horror stories about the unaccountable and indifferent bureaucracy at DWP. DWP's management is a big part of the problem and they cannot be trusted with the unchecked powers RRR gives them.

Food and Water Watch, for example, noted that while the City Council voted to move DWP to 100% renewable energy, DWP's projections recommend moving to natural gas powered electric plants. If DWP is not accountable to elected officials, these fossil fuel powered plants are more likely to be built, even though DWP is woefully overcapacity for electricity and ratepayers don't need to foot the bill.