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United States

Only in Los Angeles

A green pricing program was unveiled on May 13 for Los Angeles with full Hollywood razzmatazz. Present at the unveiling of the program, to be run by the Los Angeles Department of Power & Water (LADPW) in the second largest city in the United States, were movie stars Ted Danson, Laura Dern, Ed Begley Jr, Beau Bridges and Wendy Malick. Even Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who might have turned fewer heads in Tinseltown than the stars, joined LADPW's general manager, David Freeman, on the podium to launch "Green Power for a Green LA" at the utility's headquarters. Customers who sign up can buy a 100% renewables package-wind, sun and hydro-of which one-fifth will be new renewables.

The unveiling makes Los Angeles the largest US city with a green pricing program. "This is a huge step for LADPW and the utility industry in America," said Richardson. "DPW is leading the way. I encourage all Angelenos to participate in this cutting-edge program and demonstrate to the country-and the world-that renewable energy is part of our present and future." An average residential customer would have to pay an extra $3.00 monthly for electricity, estimates DPW. But the utility says that can be partly offset by energy products and services that come with the package at no extra cost. For instance, each Green Power customer will receive two energy-efficient light bulbs upon enrolment that alone can save customers about $30 yearly. "Emerald" customers already include the Getty Trust, University of Southern California, the LA Dodgers baseball team, Cedar Sinai Hospital and Kaiser Permanente, part of the country's largest non-profit health group. The city mayor, Richard Riordan, and a city councillor have also agreed to sign, and the same councillor says she will also introduce a motion to encourage all city agencies to "go green." DPW says it plans to locate the new renewable energy sources in Los Angeles area, providing needed jobs. During the launch Freeman, formerly head of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and well known for his pro-renewables stance, recognised local children who entered a DPW "green power" poster contest.

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