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Fix for DWP Billing Errors Up to 4 Months Away

Department of Water and Power officials plan to increase numbers of customer service reps and meter readers to end billing problems.

By City News Service

Department of Water and Power officials said Tuesday it may take four more months to completely fix billing problems that began in September following the $162 million overhaul of the utility's customer information system.

DWP officials also told Los Angeles Water and Power commissioners they will boost the number of meter readers and customer service representatives in upcoming months to ensure future bills are accurate and customer service wait times -- which have climbed to 30 to 40 minutes -- are reduced.

About 3 percent of customers have gotten erroneous bills that were based on estimated electricity and water usage, according to DWP officials.

Some customers who signed up for auto-pay have also gotten the inaccurate bill amounts withdrawn from their accounts.

During a discussion about the utility's solar power feed-in tariff program, Commissioner Jill Banks Barad said one customer who installed solar panels received a faulty bill, but could not get help for two days.

Barad, who said the customer was finally directed to the proper hotline handling solar power-related issues, urged DWP officials to be more nimble in dealing with inevitable customer questions regarding solar power.

DWP officials should include the specific solar power hotline number on customers' bills, she said.

"Make it easy for them," she said.

District 2 City Councilmember Paul Krekorian chastised LADWP in November for failing to warn the public of possible hiccups related to a $59 million overhaul of the utility's billing system.

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