Tue, May

DWP Ratepayers Zapped by New Customer Info System


LA WATCHDOG-Many Ratepayers were floored by their recent Department of Water and Power bills that were substantially above anything they have ever experienced in the past.  This situation was further aggravated by long waiting times when they called DWP and by poor customer service once they managed to get through to a live person. 

Ratepayers are confused as to what they should do.  Should you pay the bill in full even though the Department is overcharging you for electricity?  Or should you say the hell with DWP until they get the bill right? 


Another viable alternative is to pay what you think you owe.  This would involve paying the Sewer Service and Solid Waste Recovery Fees (even though they have skyrocketed over the past few years), your water bill (assuming no outlandish overcharging), and an average of what you have paid in the past for electricity. Then forward your check or billing information to DWP along with a letter or a note explaining how you calculated your payment.  

You might even consider sending an email to [email protected] explaining your situation.  Be sure to include your address, account number, and telephone number so that the Department can hopefully respond to you in a timely and effective manner. 

There is also no need to be worried about losing your water and power as DWP, under pressure from the City Council, declared a moratorium on service disconnects related to this billing fiasco.  

Underlying all the confusion is a new $162 million Customer Billing and Information System that went live in the beginning of September.  As with any large, complex management information system that involves, but is not limited to, 1.5 million power customers, 650,000 water customers, the integration of the sewer and trash fees imposed by the City, 50 data bases, and the introduction of a monthly billing cycle for residential customers, glitches are expected. But according to DWP, the number of snafus is within an acceptable range, unless of course, it is your bill that is messed up. 

DWP’s management has pledged to keep Ratepayers and the City Council informed about the status of the new operation, especially after it was revealed by vindictive IBEW Union Bo$$ d’Arcy that the cost for developing and rolling out the system was $162 million, over $100 million more than the $59 million originally cited by a Department spokesman. 

All Ratepayers can do now is wait and see when and if the new Customer Billing and Information System “stabilizes” in a timely manner and give DWP’s management the benefit of the doubt, slack they deserve for the higher level of honesty and transparency they have afforded us over the last three years. 

Prayers and kind thoughts would also help.   


(Note: One of the ironies of this situation is that IBEW Union Bo$$ d’Arcy criticized Ratepayer elected Mayor Garcetti and DWP management of covering up the full cost of the new system.  He also complained about the lack of customer service.  Of course, one of the reasons behind DWP’s poor record of customer service is that the overly restrictive union work rules prevent management from evaluating the performance of the employees and making changes in the overstaffed and inefficient customer service department.)


(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee,  The Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:  [email protected]. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.) 





Vol 11 Issue 97

Pub: Dec 3, 2013










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