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No light, just heat, in Arizonan's threat, L.A. mayor says

Officials dismiss letter by Arizona official suggesting the state cut off Los Angeles' power in retaliation for boycott over immigration law.

May 20, 2010|By Phil Willon and Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday brushed off a suggestion from an Arizona utility regulator that Los Angeles might stop receiving electricity from the state after the City Council voted for a boycott over Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration.

"The mayor stands strongly behind the City Council on this issue, and will not respond to threats from a state which has isolated itself from the America that values freedom, liberty and basic civil rights," the mayor's office said in a statement.

Gary Pierce, a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, sent a letter to Los Angeles officials Tuesday discussing the possibility that Arizona cut power to Los Angeles from generators in that state. It's unclear whether Pierce's suggestion has any support from other members of the commission — or whether such a cutoff would be legal.

"If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation," he wrote in the letter. "I am confident that Arizona's utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands.

"If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona's economy."

The head of the Department of Water and Power said Wednesday that the Arizona boycott would not affect the city's utilities because the agency is part owner of both Arizona power plants that supply electricity to Los Angeles.

DWP General Manager Austin Beutner said the city owns assets in the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired plant, and the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station that supply Los Angeles with about 20% to 25% of its power.

phil.willon@latimes.com

kate.linthicum@latimes.com

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