Cynthia McClain-Hill announces that LADWP will build EV charging stations in underserved communities. (Courtesy photo)

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has announced a comprehensive plan to build, operate and maintain a city-owned network of electric vehicle (EV) ‘fast-charger’ stations in the city’s underserved communities, ensuring that working-class Angelenos share in the benefits of L.A.’s transition to a clean energy future.

The EV charging plaza network is the cornerstone of LADWP’s ‘Powered by Equity’ initiative, which seeks to ensure that all customers can realize the full benefits of L.A.’s clean energy future.

LADWP’s ‘Powered by Equity’ initiative comes on the heels of the public release of LA100 Equity Strategies, an expansive and detailed two-year research study undertaken with significant community input by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). LA100 Equity Strategies provides a detailed analysis of L.A.’s clean energy investment inequities and recommends policies and programs to address them.

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Cynthia McClain-Hill, president of the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners, said, “L.A. is home to some of our nation’s wealthiest enclaves, many of our state’s poorest neighborhoods, and an array of middle-class and working-class communities. Our clean energy future must be meaningful and beneficial for our customers citywide.

“Moving forward, our clean energy future will be ‘Powered by Equity.’ Our path forward is to continue ‘Leading with Equity’ in how we fashion the framework for our city’s clean energy future.

“We have an opportunity to be innovative and bold. We have an opportunity to shape our clean energy future in a manner that delivers benefits to community residents and our LADWP customers in the neighborhoods where they live. We’re making a conscious decision to take intentional clean energy actions that are ‘Powered by Equity’ as recommended by the newly released LA100 Equity Strategies research study.

“We serve four million residential and business customers across a diverse spectrum – rich and poor alike. LADWP’s mission must be to enable our customers to benefit from our transition to clean energy, not be left to bear onerous economic burdens because of it.”

Bishop Noel Jones has partnered with LADWP to install EV charging stations at churches throughout Los Angeles. (Courtesy photo)

LADWP’s ‘Powered by Equity’ initiative aims to ensure that all Angelenos benefit from the City’s commitment to achieving a carbon-free energy future. The centerpiece of the initiative is providing city-owned battery electric vehicle charging infrastructure in underserved communities where EV charging capacity currently lags far behind that found in more affluent communities. To support the transition to EVs for Angelenos, LADWP is also increasing its Used EV Rebate from $2,500 to $4,000 for customers participating in the Lifeline or EZ-SAVE discount rate programs.

In addition to building EV charging stations in underserved communities throughout L.A., LADWP plans to expand and add equity components to a variety of clean energy programs, including solar utilization, energy efficiency, job creation and training, electric vehicle rebates, utility upgrades to support home EV charger installations, point-of-sale rebates for home cooling, and extending LADWP’s plans for resiliency hubs.

Bishop Noel Jones, City of Refuge Church, is working with the City of Los Angeles to create an EV partnership that will install EV chargers at churches in Los Angeles. “We are extremely glad to be a part of the partnership that is being put forward by not only our mayor but by LADWP. And I guarantee you that with their support, and our support, we’re going to make things happen and change things,” Bishop Jones said.

Ensuring safe temperatures for L.A.’s residents involves a particular focus on providing cooling to low-income multifamily-building residents, who are at the highest risk.

The proposed equity strategies expand activities and programs that are already working in Los Angeles. In addition, the strategies recommend new approaches to improve community engagement, strategic technology and infrastructure investments, and the design of new programs and policies. Cost-benefit trade-offs and metrics to inform implementation and evaluation are also assessed.