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City officials on Tuesday addressed allegations that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) used faulty billing practices.
Councilmember Dennis Zine, 3rd District, chair of the Audits and Government Efficiency Committee, has introduced a motion instructing the DWP to address its customer billing and collection issues. Zine also requested that Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel report on the feasibility of conducting an independent audit on the performance of the DWP’s billing and collection practices, specifically on the delay of issuing bills, to be completed at the DWP’s expense.
According to Zine, there have been reports that DWP bills have been sent to residential customers late with several months’ of utilities charges, requiring payments in the thousands of dollars. Other situations were also addressed, such as commercial customers having new meters installed only to find that the meter never became fully connected to the system. These types of problems can impede billing for nearly two years, totaling non-payments in the tens of thousands of dollars.
“I am encouraged to see that [DWP] General Manager Ron Nichols is proactively addressing billing concerns,” Zine said. “I have asked the department to report back with answers to these unresolved complaints and determine a point person to handle outstanding concerns. I am confident that Mr. Nichols will return with answers and solutions.”
The motion was referred to the Energy and Environment Committee, and will be considered on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Zine urges DWP customers to report billing problems to the City Controller’s Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline at (866)428-1514, or (800)DIAL-DWP.
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