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Water and Power Announces New Policy

Water and Power Announces New Policy

Los Angeles DWP to end water and power shutoffs for low-income customers who can’t pay


The L.A. Department of Water and Power is announcing the end of two measures that the city had in place last summer to keep residents of struggling low-income households from going without water and electricity.

About 30,180 households will now be able to go months without service for a small fee. And those whose water or power was shut off will save money by switching to a program that cuts their water or power for free during the winter months.

Under a new policy adopted in January, the city will continue to operate on a sliding scale for these customers. For example, low-income residents who face water shutoff will pay as little as $14 a month to stay connected, but those customers who have no water or power will pay only $11.50 a month.

Under the new policy, affected residents who have their water shut off will be able to request that they get the money back later. And they will receive more information in the coming months about how to request it. Those affected who have no water or power will be offered an alternative that cuts their bill to $11.50 a month.

The department has also revamped its plan to send financial information to the City Council after an initial survey of households and businesses showed widespread dissatisfaction.

“With the additional financial information, residents will have a better understanding of why their money is going toward the utility,” said Paul Rose, L.A. Department of Water and Power spokesperson. “And because our billing system has been improved, we will be more transparent about how much we have to spend to keep service going.”

Under the last program, more than 7,000 people would get an early termination notice because they didn’t pay their bill.

Under the new policy, for people who were on notice for more than 90 days, they will be eligible to request a refund within 15 days of their notification. (Customers who received notices that their bill was late or not at the meter will be able to request a refund at any time, even after the period of nonpayment ends.)

“We feel that the policy is more equitable,” Rose said. “We just want to be fair, but if they make a request to our staff, it won’t necessarily happen immediately.”

The program

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