Amid opposition from neighborhood council activists and lingering concerns about DWP management, two City Council committees declined to vote Monday on whether to support the utility's proposal to raise water and power rates, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has urged the council to boost the power rate by 9 percent over three years and the water rate by 6 percent over two years to help cover the cost of replacing the city's aging infrastructure.

But after a three-hour hearing Monday, the council's budget and environment committees forwarded the rate increase proposal to the full City Council without issuing a recommendation.

The full council will consider the rates March 25. If approved, the power rate would increase 3 percent in May. Two months later in July, power rates would rise another 3 percent and water rates would increase 3 percent.

"Most members wanted to just battle it out on the council floor," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who heads the council's Energy and Environment Committee.

Neighborhood council activists have raised concern about customer bills when the new rates are combined with increases in surcharges for natural gas, renewable energy and imported water.

They also pushed council members to postpone the rate increases until the DWP finishes an efficiency study required every five years - in case the review finds ways to save money and offset rate hikes.

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