In a city infamous for business-squelching bureaucracy, no agency is more maligned than the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Developers who want to build housing, shopping centers or other commercial projects face steep costs and long delays in getting permits and connections to the city’s electric power system.
The DWP’s convoluted process can add so much time, money and uncertainty to a project that some businesses decide to build elsewhere, costing the city much-needed investment, particularly in housing.
This month the DWP adopted the second of two policies aimed at making the utility more business friendly by cutting power infrastructure costs for individual housing and commercial projects. It’s a good start, but there’s a lot more work to do.
Of course, the DWP is not the only agency responsible for L.A.’s notorious red tape; the planning, public works and building and safety departments can all be choke points, particularly when it comes to getting new housing built. But the utility stands out as uniquely challenging.