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Our quest for power

September 29, 2007

Re "For the DWP, it's not easy being green," Opinion, Sept. 23

Richard Dickinson highlights the need for the L.A. Department of Water and Power to get in gear if the nation's largest public utility is to adhere to the city's mandate to achieve the 20% level for renewable power by 2010. Unfortunately, the flat rate that the DWP charges its customers is the single biggest impediment to making the goal. I encourage the DWP to start charging tiered rates, like Southern California Edison does. Under this system, the more power you use, the more you pay. This provides a natural incentive for conservation and waste reduction, two environmentally friendly measures in themselves. With a tiered system, the utility could actually reduce its lowest rate so that the poor could get a slight break, while the wealthy or wasteful would pay a more equitable price for what they use.

Paul Scott

Santa Monica

Dickinson provides an unimaginative scenario for the DWP failing to meet minimal renewable energy compliance. If one imagines, as he does, centralized energy sources, such as solar panel farms in the desert, they are certainly doomed to failure. But renewable energy sources are far more efficient locally. Supporting passive solar water heating could reduce electricity use dramatically, with incentives for customers to use hot water solar collectors and impulse heaters. Urban-scale wind generators, no taller than your satellite dishes or TV antennae, could provide supplements, again, with modest incentives, as could roof-level solar panels that generate electricity directly. At the very least, let's not use 40-year-old ideas to solve current problems.

John Maliga

Los Angeles

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