2022_Lights On Water Flowing_LAANE

Lights On, Water Flowing


The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated and further unveiled the historical racial and economic inequities that low-income residents and residents of color face in Los Angeles. Because the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has priced basic necessities out of reach, ratepayers struggle to afford water and power, accumulate high utility debt, and subsequently experience shutoffs. In February 2020, prior to the implementation of Stay at Home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, active LADWP residential customers were $85.6 million in debt.1 This demonstrates that utility debt and shutoffs, a consequence of acquiring too much debt, were problems before the pandemic. 

Our findings show that Black, Latinx, and low-income ratepayers face the brunt of shutoffs and must be centered and prioritized in policy recommendations. LADWP must move toward equity models that do not penalize the poor and instead provide universal access to water and power to all Angelenos that allows an affordable clean energy transition. We are excited to share this report as an overview of the impacts of shutoffs and utility debt and highlight ways LADWP can prevent shutoffs in our communities and work towards resiliency for all Angelenos.