DWP suspends shutoffs for nonpayments during extreme LA weather

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Tuesday approved suspending utility shutoffs during extreme weather events for customers who are behind on their bills.

The motion, approved 4-0 by the Board of Commissioners, directs the DWP to use National Weather Service alerts as the triggers for suspending shutoffs.

The alerts would include heat advisories, excessive heat watches and excessive heat warnings during summer, and corresponding alerts for cold and winter weather events.

In a statement, DWP officials noted the motion would protect the health and safety of all customers, particularly vulnerable residents, and ensure equitable access to "critical water and essential power services during summer and winter extreme weather conditions."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: LADWP considers suspending utility shutoffs in extreme heat

"All Angelenos -- especially those who depend on AC for their health and medical needs -- need protection from the heat and cold," Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. "As warming trends continue, we need to work together to protect our most vulnerable from extreme temperatures."

Greg Reed, senior assistant general manager, said the motion brought forward was the result of a resolution the board signed in November 2022 to protect "all of our customers during extreme weather conditions."

Estela Tieman, director of customer operations, said the department's current policy was based on 100-degree thresholds by service district. In addition, the department had no cold-related temperature thresholds ``given the mild temperatures that historically were in the L.A. area in the winters, Tieman added.

The board previously acted to strengthen its Cool LA initiative, which provides up to $225 rebates for income-qualified residents to purchase portable room air conditioners.

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