According to the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is advocating a proposal to install enough rooftop solar panels on buildings in the city by 2013 to power 100,000 households now served by the Department of Water and Power (DWP). The proposed plan would be featured on the March 3 state ballot and was developed by a pro-labor organization called Working Californians.
Two leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which represents approximately 8,000 DWP employees, head the group. Under the proposal, DWP workers would install the solar panels that DWP would own. Position papers from Working Californians assert that the solar initiative would strengthen the city’s economy and create jobs.
Three council members—Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry—have met with Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley and Brian D’Arcy, business manager for IBEW Local 18, to assess the proposal. The plan would be voluntary and would involve commercial, industrial and municipal buildings. Some DWP opponents say the plan could lead to higher power bills. The DWP already plans to raise ratepayers’ electric bills by nearly 24 percent between 2006 and 2010.