A Los Angeles Times story on the decision by local utility officials to halt shutoffs of water and power for low-income customers who can’t pay their bills cited Gregory Pierce, co-director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. The story cited research from the center showing that Los Angeles’ communities of color were disproportionately affected by utility debt and shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Protection from utility shutoffs for those enrolled in low-income discount programs will help lessen the debt burden for [L.A. Department of Water and Power’s] most vulnerable customers,” said Pierce, who leads UCLA’s Human Right to Water Solutions Lab. Pierce comments frequently on issues of water access and equity, including in a USA Today fact-checking article on false claims that water scarcity is an illusion. Climate change has created weather extremes, he said, but excess water in one place doesn’t help another place that’s parched by drought.
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