The city’s Water and Power Commission unanimously approved a new energy services policy Tuesday aimed at supporting affordable housing developments and permanent supportive units.

Cynthia McClain-Hill, president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, introduced a motion Tuesday directing Department of Water and Power staff to develop measures to cover the costs of public right-of-way power infrastructure upgrades for 100% affordable and permanent housing developments in the city. The motion also called for an acceleration of the utility’s processes for identifying an affordable housing developer’s power services needs.

“This is an important notion,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. “We know that accelerating and lowering the costs of affordable and permanent supportive housing projects are essential to our agenda to urgently increase housing production in Los Angeles and save lives.”

Under the Project PowerHouse pilot program approved Tuesday, developers with pending affordable housing projects would work with DWP staff to assess their expected power needs — doing so at the beginning of the planning phase rather than near the end. The program was developed in accordance with Bass’ homelessness emergency declaration.

“Mayor Karen Bass has made her intention and one of her priorities is to promote and encourage developers to build affordable and permanent supportive housing that meet the needs of tens of thousands of women, men and families that presently make L.A.’s sidewalks, parks and freeways underpasses their homes of last resort,” McClain-Hill said in a statement.

Project PowerHouse is designed to meet three objectives — reducing costs for routing power to selected development projects that otherwise would be paid by a developer; determining power needs for 100% affordable housing developments faster through up-front coordination with a developer’s architects; and shortening the time frames for DWP approvals of a developer’s on-site electric service plans.

“If you’re a developer of 100% affordable housing or permanent supportive housing development, now is the time to talk to our staff,” said Winifred Yancy, director of DWP’s Power New Business and Electrification. “Plan your developments with us through Project PowerHouse from the outset.”

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