DWP Under Fire Again For Inaccurate Billing - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

DWP Under Fire Again For Inaccurate Billing

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(FOX 11/ CNS) - Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, called today for a state audit into the troubled rollout of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's $162 million customer information and billing system.

The DWP drew a barrage of complaints from customers after its overhaul of a nearly 40-year-old billing system in September.

Tens of thousands of ratepayers were issued inaccurate bills that, in some cases, showed charges several times greater than what was owed. And some ratepayers complained about being put on hold for as long as an hour when they called to complain. 

DWP officials said they have yet to receive about $200 million in payments.

"The DWP's new computerized billing system has been a boondoggle from the start," Bocanegra said. "The project went significantly over budget and was completed way past the scheduled start date, but that seems like the tip of the iceberg."

Bocanegra, who represents the San Fernando Valley area, said the Joint Legislative Audit Committee is scheduled to consider his audit request at a March 4 meeting.

Bocanegra aide Ben Golombek said that, with City Controller Ron Galperin's ongoing audit into a pair of DWP employee training trusts, "there's been a lot of discussion recently about transparency at the DWP, and we think this will complement those efforts."

Bocanegra's proposed audit requests a closer look at:

-- how the DWP retained contractors to create and implement the new system;

-- how much revenue the utility lost since the system went live in September;

-- the number of ratepayers who received late or inaccurate bills and how many received shutoff notices;-- when the utility learned the project would "cost around $160 million, and not $59 million as DWP initially stated;" and

-- how much of the overall cost owed to efforts to correct glitches in the system.

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