Los Angeles Will Shut Off People’s Utilities for Hosting Parties, Not for Failing to Pay Their Utility Bills

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to shut off utility service to violators of bans on private gatherings poses grave civil liberties and due process concerns.

by Christian Britschgi

In Los Angeles, you can have your power turned off for having parties at your house, but not for failing to pay your power bill.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he was authorizing the city-controlled Department of Water and Power (DWP) to shut off utilities to homes and businesses that host unpermitted gatherings in violation of county and city stay-at-home orders.

The order comes in response to reports of large parties being held at residences across Los Angeles, including one on Tuesday night that ended in the shooting death of one attendee.

“The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond those parties. They ripple throughout our community,” Garcetti said in a press briefing Wednesday evening. “While we have already closed nightclubs and bars, these large parties have become nightclubs in the hills. Beyond the noise, traffic, and nuisance, these parties are unsafe and can cost Angelenos their lives.”

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