Erase Utility Debt

LADWP Board

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No one should have to go without water and power, especially not in a pandemic. COVID-19 has changed our society, with stay at home orders, health risks, and job losses. Currently, the City has a moratorium preventing shut offs for nonpayment but that means people are still accruing debt. We need to prevent devastation, we need utility debt forgiveness now.

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Los Angeles, CA

To: LADWP Board
From: [Your Name]

COVID-19 has changed our society, with stay at home orders, health risks, and job losses. In the last four months, more Angelenos have stayed at home, using more utilities to keep themselves and their families safe. The city’s moratorium on shutoffs is a crucial first step to providing all Angelenos consistent access to water and power. Now we need to make a plan for what will happen when the moratorium is lifted. Without a plan, a wave of disconnections is imminent for low-income Angelenos. No one should have to go without water and power, especially not in a pandemic.

LADWP is the largest public utility in the country, which means it is ours, beholden to us, the ratepayers. It should be a resource for people during this public health crisis. In response to the hardships of our communities, we, as RePower LA, are calling on LADWP to create a COVID-19 Utility Debt Relief Program. The goals of this program are:

-Erase utility debt for ratepayers enrolled in the LADWP Low-Income program, Lifeline program, or a PayPlan throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

-Improve outreach for existing equity-based programs and the Utility Debt Forgiveness program to address historic under-enrollment and increased eligibility of many Angelenos due to COVID-19.

-Invest in utility justice to reduce the widespread unaffordability of LADWP bills for low-income communities of color as part of Mayor Garcetti’s Executive Order 27. Make long-term investments in justice-oriented rate-setting and equity programs.

-Ensure resources for the COVID-19 Utility Debt Forgiveness Program do not come at the expense of the essential workforce of the LADWP or any existing low-income programs.

City Council President Nury Martinez has put forth a motion to help achieve the necessary protections for ratepayers across the City of Los Angeles. She has recommended that DWP report to the City Council with a debt relief and forgiveness program for low-income ratepayers.

Her motion includes bill stabilization for low-income ratepayers to stop the debt from rising, based on a percentage of their monthly income.

Utilities are a necessity during this combined pandemic, heatwave, and economic crisis. We urge DWP Staff to work with our coalition to come together and create a solution within 30 days that relieves the heavy burden of debt and allows Angelenos to thrive.

Will you sign this petition to urge LADWP staff to work with community stakeholders to create a utility debt forgiveness program within 30 days that reflects our community demands?