Did you know that every time DWP customers turn on a light or charge a cellphone, they pay a hidden and steep tax? Austin Beutner, former deputy mayor for Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Times publisher, wants to make Angelenos aware of this in his Wednesday editorial in Huffington Post.

Beutner said that bills originating from L.A.’s Department of Water and Power include a 10 percent city utility tax as well as a “transfer” of 8 percent of all electric-related revenue to City Hall. In other words, residents are paying close to 20 percent more for electricity than they should be. Beutner blames the exorbitant taxation on “a complete lack of public accountability at DWP.”

As the City Council is primed to vote on the largest power rate increase in DWP history – a cumulative hike of more than 20 percent over five years – Beutner explained none of it would be spent to improve the utility's aging infrastructure, increase wind or solar power generation, or make service more affordable and reliable.

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