How Angelenos can get a low-cost A/C unit from the DWP to beat the next heat wave

A woman stands in front of a fan in an open window, holding her baby daughter, to try to cool off on a hot day.
One of last year’s heat wave led Los Angeles resident Karen Tapia and her daughter Jessalyn to try to cool off with a window fan because her home did not have air conditioning.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

It’s been unseasonably cool in Los Angeles, but you know that’s not going to last. With that in mind, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has revived its rebate program to help lower-income Angelenos endure the heat waves to come.

The DWP is again offering a $225 rebate on portable or window-unit air conditioners for customers enrolled in one of its discounted rate programs. That amount, which is three times the usual level, can cover 80% or more of the cost of a small window-unit air conditioner.

When they announced the higher rebate last summer, city officials emphasized that access to air conditioning is crucial for health and safety. In addition to the rebates, DWP touted a “level pay” option that enables customers to spread the extra cost of cooling their homes over the full year; that option remains available to DWP customers.


The higher rebates and level bill pay plan are part of the Cool L.A. program the agency announced in July 2022. Among other heat-beating efforts, the DWP continues to offer rebates for energy-efficient windows, high-efficiency central air conditioners and heat pumps, whole house fans and reflective “cool roofs.”

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Who’s eligible for the DWP rebates?

The DWP has been offering all customers buying a more efficient portable, wall-mounted or window air conditioner a $75 rebate during the summer (the rebate typically drops to $50 the rest of the year). If you turn in your old window unit, you can receive a $25 prepaid card to spend on your new one.

Under the Cool L.A. program, the rebate jumps to $225 for DWP customers who are enrolled in one of four programs that lower their utility bills: EZ-SAVE (formerly known as the Low-Income Discount Program), Lifeline (which exempts lower-income seniors and disabled Angelenos from taxes on their utility bills), Life Support Equipment Discount (for people with respirators, motorized wheelchairs and other essential life support devices at home) and Physician Certified Allowance Discount (for households with members who are paraplegic, quadriplegic or experiencing certain disabling diseases).

To enroll in one of those programs, visit the DWP’s assistance programs website.

Eligible customers can obtain up to two rebates for air conditioning units, the DWP says. The units must be installed at a house, town house, condominium or apartment served by the DWP.

The higher rebates will apply only to purchases made between May 11 and Sept. 30. To be eligible, you must apply for a rebate by Nov. 15.


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How will the new A/C rebates work?

You’ll need to buy an air conditioner that meets the DWP’s efficiency requirements, so the place to start is the agency’s Cool L.A. marketplace.

Some units can be bought directly from the marketplace, with the rebate applied at the time of purchase — in other words, as a straight-up discount. Those units, which are delivered by a local retailer, are marked by a small shopping-cart symbol near their price tag.

After you’ve filled your cart and started to check out, the site will ask for some basic information, including your DWP account number. That number will be used to determine whether you’re enrolled in a program that qualifies you for the tripled discount.

(If you are not qualified, a pop-up message will direct you to a separate DWP marketplace to shop for an efficient air conditioner. You won’t be able to purchase directly there, but you will be able to submit a claim for a $75 refund if you buy one of the listed models elsewhere.)

The Cool L.A. marketplace also lists dozens of units that qualify for the rebate but can’t be bought through the site. It provides links to retailers selling those models.

After buying one of these units, you’ll need to fill out a form at the Cool L.A. marketplace to see whether you qualify for a rebate. If you do, you’ll receive a virtual gift card of your choosing, such as a prepaid credit card or a gift card for a specific retailer.

The DWP says it is working to make more purchases eligible for upfront discounts.

Depending on the size of the rooms you are trying to cool, the rebate could cut your net cost to less than $20 for a window unit and less than $70 for a portable model. The more space you have to cool, the more powerful the unit you’ll need, and consequently the larger the price tag.


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What is level bill pay?

This program looks at your past electricity use, then charges a set amount every month based on your historical average. If you’ve built up a sizable debt to the DWP over time, you can choose the 24- or 36-month plans to pay off your arrears over a longer period.

Level pay is open to any DWP customer with a residential account. What it was designed to do, however, was ease the concerns of customers who didn’t turn on their AC even in heat waves for fear of a spike in their bill.

According to the DWP, “Existing payment arrangements continue to be available to customers who need extra time to pay their late LADWP bills, regardless if they sign up for Level Pay.”

You can sign up by calling (800) DIAL-DWP ([800] 342-5397).

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This article is from The Times’ Utility Journalism Team. Our mission is to be essential to the lives of Southern Californians by publishing information that solves problems, answers questions and helps with decision making. We serve audiences in and around Los Angeles — including current Times subscribers and diverse communities that haven’t historically had their needs met by our coverage.

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