Los Angeles district could be facing huge utility cost increase

Rate increase could cause utility costs to spike by as much as 50 percent.

Despite districtwide energy-saving measures, the Los Angeles Unified School District could be facing an increase in its utility bills of as much as 50 percent.

The LA School Report says district officials have informed the school board's Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee that the school system's utility bill could jump as much as $36 million over four years—even though the district has trimmed its water consumption by 13 percent since 2014.

In a report to the committee, Christos Chrysiliou, the district’s director of Architectural and Engineering Services, described ways the district is trying to save on utility costs in order to keep the increase to about $10 million. But even $10 million more would be hard to find.

Last year, the Los Angeles City Council approved rate increases sought by the Department of Water and Power.

Board member Mónica Ratliff says that the combination of declining enrollment and a looming budget deficit make the utility increase a potential disaster.

"We cannot continue to function in this situation," says Ratliff. "Even if we bring down the utility cost (increase) to $10 million, we can’t meet these costs without doing drastic draconian cuts.”

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