LA City Councilman Mitch Englander dubbed it ‘' Billing-gate''. That might be a little extreme, but we get the point. The much maligned, massive DWP, which bills us for electricity, water, sewer, and garbage collection has a new computerized billing system that has proven to be very expensive and far, far, far from perfect.
We've learned today that out of 1.4 million DWP customers, about 70,000, or five percent, have been billed in error, often hundreds, if not a thousand dollars more than they should've been billed, been sent bills late, had money automatically withdrawn from their accounts in error, have been dropped from Auto pay… you get the idea. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck and a huge amount of money is withdrawn from your account in error, and you can't get through to a person without waiting forever on the phone, that's a problem.
Now the DWP might says it's ‘'only'' five percent, which is true unless of course you're one of them. And the DWP also says that they are replacing literally 25 different systems that date back to 1974 at the same time, so it's never going to be perfect. They did dress rehearsals; they did tests; And this is the result. Lot of heat on them Wednesday at the City Council meeting, as Englander led a unanimously-passed motion to freeze any service disconnects over billing issues. He had DWP GM Ron Nichols and his Assistant GM for customer service Sharon Grove sit at the table in the council horseshoe like little kids called to the principals office where he and the other council members verbally berated them for a while, elicited promises to do better. Tom LaBonge, for the record, did praise them and encourage them to continue doing the good work that they do.. gotta love him. )
So if you have a problem, don't ignore it. Call 800-DIAL-DWP, they promise to have a lot more phone staffers and can even call you back if you leave your number, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org Meantime good luck even reading and understanding that DWP bill.