With recent wildfires and heatwaves, LA County residents have endured rolling blackouts due to excessive heat driving up electricity use. While power outages tend to affect everyone, energy shutoffs disproportionately impact our Black and Latinx communities who often live in hotter areas. In response, today the Board of Supervisors passed a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, requesting a comprehensive review of the County’s backup energy systems.

“Reliable power is critical in this pandemic. While power outages affect all of us, they particularly affect our vulnerable communities of color. Our Black and Latinx communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, both in terms of public health and economic security. Power outages, amid heatwaves, only compound these problems,” said Supervisor Solis. “The last thing anyone should worry about is putting food on the table and keeping their family cool during a heatwave.”

On July 21, Supervisor Solis introduced a motion directing the County to report back on procedures and recommendations to help prevent future unplanned outages that occurred in East Los Angeles during a heatwave that exceeded 100 degrees in early July and that led to food spoilage and compromised medical supplies for thousands of vulnerable families.

“2020 has shown us that we need to protect our systems, our communities, and our infrastructure against potential catastrophe. As the County of Los Angeles is dealing with record heatwaves, the COVID-19 global pandemic, and other crises, we need to ensure that our energy supply and its infrastructure do not fail us,” said Supervisor Barger. “Directing County Departments to fast track my request for a study, initially approved by the Board in August 2019, is the first step in ensuring that the County’s energy supply is resilient in the face of potential challenges such as natural disasters, international turmoil, power outages, cyber-attacks, transportation disruptions, and price spikes.”

Today’s motion directs the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Sustainability Officer, the Director of the Department of Public Works, the Director of Regional Planning, and the Director of the Internal Services Department to report back within 90 days on how the County is ensuring energy system supplies are in place to support our County residents in times of an emergency..

###

Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov