The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power\u2019s board of commissioners Sept. 12 unanimously approved a rate hike that would raise the muni\u2019s power revenues 5.5 percent annually over each of the next two fiscal years. Full Los Angeles City Council approval is needed for the 11.1 percent hike to take effect between 2012-14. The rate increase is projected to boost the muni\u2019s revenues by an average of $164.2 million over each of the coming two fiscal years. \u201cWe\u2019re at a pretty important point in the Department of Water & Power\u2019s history,\u201d muni general manager Ron Nichols told the board. It will raise the average kWh cost of power to customers by a total of 1.4 cents over two years, said Philip Leiber, muni chief financial officer. He said about 70 percent of the increase would go toward meeting regulatory requirements. They include phasing out coal power, achieving a 33 percent renewable energy standard, phasing out once-through cooling at coastal power plants, cutting greenhouse gases, and increasing energy efficiency and solar power. \u201cThese investments are costly,\u201d said Leiber. The remaining 30 percent of the increase will go toward upgrading the distribution system. Some muni customers said that ratepayers could not afford the increase due to the ongoing economic recession. However, some business and environmental groups endorsed the action. Board approval came after the city\u2019s new ratepayer advocate reviewed the power rate hike plan and endorsed it last month (Current, Aug. 24, 2012). Nichols said that the board-approved plan includes some minor changes recommended by the advocate. Final Los Angeles City Council action is expected by the end of the month.