(Courtesy photo)

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners approved a motion on June 27 to suspend utility shutoffs during extreme weather events for customers who are behind on their bill payments.

The motion directs the DWP to adopt the issuance of local NWS alerts — such as heat advisories, excessive heat watches and excessive heat warnings during summer heat events and corresponding alerts for cold and winter weather events — as the official trigger to suspend customer utility shutoffs for bill non-payment.

In a statement, DWP officials noted the action 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.”
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According to the DWP, the motion marks a “significant change” from the department’s current policy, under which the utility only suspends shutoffs for non-payment when temperatures reach 100 degrees or hotter.

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

The board also approved a policy suspending disconnections for non-payment for all EZ-SAVE enrolled customers, which is open to low-income and elderly residents and people with disabilities.