Los Angeles DWP to end water and power shutoffs for low-income customers who can’t pay
City officials will stop paying water and electricity bills for low-income residents who can’t pay their bills before Jan. 31.
The decision means that people who pay their bills online or otherwise have their utility bills paid will not receive notices that their water and electricity will be disconnected between March 1 and Jan. 31, according to the City of Los Angeles.
“This is very simple – we’re taking back some of the power from the big water and power users,” said City Councilman Mike Bonin, who proposed the policy at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “If you don’t pay your bill, we’re going to shut the water off.”
Bonin said the city’s decision to stop water and electricity shutoffs for low-income residents who can’t pay will save the city $15 million in total electricity and water costs, according to the city staff report.
“The people that were paying that water and power may well be on food stamps,” Bonin added.
The policy is being put in place to stop more than 400,000 people, including 100,000 in Los Angeles County, from having their city services cut off due to short paychecks, according to Bonin.
“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services is going to come in with a check like they used to, and our city can’t use the food stamps [for water and power shutoffs], so that’s kind of like the same thing,” he said.
However, Bonin said when the state Department of Health and Human Services receives their checks for water and power shutoffs, it could apply the new policies on these Los Angeles residents, who have paid their utility bills online and in person.
“To me, the big problem has always been those low income people that the water and power shutoffs target,” Bonin