A state Senate bill requiring that the city’s Department of Water and Power install an additional 100 megawatts of energy storage at an estimated cost of $200 million was officially opposed Friday by the Los Angeles City Council.
The bill’s stated purpose is so the city can reduce its dependence on gas from the Aliso Canyon storage facility, the site of a massive leak in late 2015 and early 2016 that displaced thousand of residents.
SB801 would require the LADWP to create the storage within 120 days of being enacted, and members of the City Council opposed it for a variety of reasons, including that the utility has already set a goal of creating 178 megawatts of energy storage by 2021.
Councilwoman Nury Martinez, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, introduced the resolution and said that because the bill is an unfunded mandate, the only way the city could afford to pay for the aggressive schedule it calls for would be to increase rates or defer work on infrastructure.
“Communities like mine, communities of color, poor communities, and senior citizens on a fixed income, when we have unfunded mandates, what does that mean for our ratepayers?” Martinez said.
Martinez also said she had tried to work with the bill’s author, Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park), but was unable to get him to amend it, and it has now passed through a committee and is facing a vote on the Senate floor.
The resolution, which was approved with a 10-1 vote, does include a provision that the council opposes the bill “unless amended,” and several council members expressed the belief that Stern may be willing to compromise.
Councilman Paul Koretz cast the lone vote against the resolution, and had asked that it be continued to give the council a few days to negotiate with Stern’s office.
“I think it’s too hard for me to vote against battery storage and so I will probably be voting no, but not with any malice towards the author or disagreement with her side, I just think we can reach this without having to oppose an important measure of this great importance,” Koretz said before the vote.
— City News Service
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