Residents face an 8% increase in electricity rates next month under a rate change requested by the city-owned utility company and approved Tuesday night by the City Council.
The jump follows a 9% increase imposed last October. Before then, rates had been stable since 1984.
"Even after this increase, our rates will still be lower than Edison," said Darrell Ament, acting general manager of the Public Utilities Department. "The residential (portion) had to be raised because it was paying a lesser share (than commercial customers)."
Some residents cited the $10-million settlement the city won from Edison earlier this year as a reason rates should not be increased.
But the council said the utility's expenses--including rising labor and energy costs--justify the increase.
"It's an unfortunate thing, but it's one of those things that has to be done," said Councilman William D. Ehrle.
The new residential rate will increase the average homeowner's bill to about $46 a month, about 14% lower than what Southern California Edison Co. charges, said Terry Kerr, an area manager for the utility.
The residential increase is larger than increases levied on commercial and industrial customers. The increases will be 6% for small businesses, 5% for larger businesses and 0.7% for industrial customers.