Los Angeles DWP to end water and power shutoffs for low-income customers who can’t pay
LA Metro and county officials are meeting this week with their counterparts to hammer out a plan for how the city and county plan to relieve the burden of paying for the $2 billion DWP’s DWP shutoff and emergency service programs for poor residents who couldn’t pay their bills.
While much would be unknown until the details are hammered out, city officials on Wednesday announced a settlement with the Department of Water and Power that would end shutoffs for most customers that have been on file since May.
The change would reduce the number of shutoffs to 1,500 per month. Officials have projected that number would drop after they begin to remove low-income customers from DWP’s shutoff list this winter.
“I am excited for this moment,” said the city’s Chief Administrative Officer David Neslin. “It took a long time to get to this point, but there is so much work to be done.”
Under the previous agreement, customers with an annual income below $200,000 and a “severe” DWP service disconnection had their phone service disconnected by DWP without having to first pay $90 a month. In the second year of the agreement, customers with income below $210,000 would have to pay the $90 a month fee.
On Tuesday, DWP officials released a list that included 6,000 customers who had not paid their bills for the past half year and would lose their phone or power service starting Jan. 1.
That list includes 1,500 low-income customers who were put on DWP’s shutoff list in the first months of the year, including those with incomes between $5,000 and $1.75/hour.
Neslin said the city’s plan is to take the current plan to DWP for approval, with the exception of any fees, that is already established. If approved, DWP will require them to remove the customers from DWP’s shutoff list.
“While the plan is subject to a number of changes and some details that would have to be finalized, DWP would move forward with the plan