This morning while getting ready for work my little mutt, er.. dog began barking insistently at the front door. As I headed out the door ten minutes later, I nearly tripped over a small brown bag with the words LADWP printed on the front of it. Since it is City election season all sorts of thing are being given away so this made sense.
Inside the bag (100% recycleable of course!) was a bunch of freebie items including two 20 watt Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) that are advertised to put out more lumins than a 75 watt incandescent, a pamphlet entitled “Bright IDEAS from the LADWP”, a flyer shouting “It’s time to turn on the savings!” and a paper calculator called “Saving water – Has never been more important”
In the pamphlet LADWP General Manager David Nahia says that “not only will CFL’s reduce your energy use but they can also help make Los Angeles a ‘Green’ city.”
Yes conservation is important but does he really mean it? Over the last four years it seems that the City of Los Angeles and the LADWP have contradicting goals in marketing power. One is the ‘green’ goal and the other is making their campaign contributors happy. Together they make little dent on the city’s conservation effort.
On one hand they prod us into conserving electricity by encouraging us to switch to CFL bulbs but then on the otherhand they issue permits to billboard companies to convert 880 billboards to digital, each using enough power for 20 homes. That’s just the billboards in the settlement that the City of Los Angeles “won” and it doesn’t include hundreds of more signs that the city of allowing in the so-called “sign districts.”
Between the two, residents will have to give up millions of incandescents to simply makeup for the power hungary 24 hour, 7 day a week electronic billboards that the city is allowing and in the case of sign districts, even encouraging. Who is benefiting? Residents or media companies? Not residents.
One interesting fact I noted on the freebie CFL box was how much 75 watt incandescent bulbs cost compared to CFL’s. The LADWP say’s that 75 watt incandescent’s cost $9.75 each as opposed to the $5.50 each for CFL’s. A quick visit to Lowes Hardware store’s web site however say’s that an 8 pack of 75 watt incandescents cost only $3.98 each. A 2 pack of 23 watt CFL’s cost $6.88 each.
On another note. Supposedly the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LABS) is going to submit a long sought after report next month on just how many billboards (illegal and legal) there are in the city. This has taken LABS literally months to do since they have told us that they don’t know where all of the boards are and they have to have twenty city inspectors working full time to fan out around the city to find them.
Was there a simpler answer? I would bet that the LADWP has a record of each and every billboard in the city that has a flood light on it including street addresses since everyone of those billboards has an electric METER attached to it just like our homes do. How else does the city charge them for the power they use?
It would have been easier to just place a call to LADWP General Manager H. David Nahia and ask him for a printout of all of Clear Channel, CBS, Regency, Summit Media and Van Wagner billboard accounts?
A good accounting department could have that information in 24 hours, not 3 months like the city claims.