Sunday, November 19, 2017
Council Orders No New DWP Service Shut-Offs
By Sentinel News Services
Published December 6, 2013

City Council President Herb Wesson (Courtesy Photo)

In the wake of the continuing problems with the Department of Water and Power’s new computerized billing system, Council President Herb Wesson has announced that the Los Angeles City Council has adopted a motion directing the DWP to suspend collections and service shut-offs to accounts, which have become delinquent since the implementation of the new system.

“The failure of this billing system has put many of our people in a very difficult position,” said Wesson.  “Especially vulnerable have been individuals who have their payments sent automatically from their banks, and in some cases draining their bank accounts.”

In the three months since the DWP has been using the new billing system, as many as 70,000 residents have received substantially higher bills based on inaccurate usage data.  The Councilmembers have heard from their frustrated constituents about the problems, and were determined to take some action.  The Council’s motion was put forward by Councilmember Mitch Englander and was passed on a 12-0 vote.

The DWP has assured the Council that the new system will enable it to operate more efficiently and that it will not issue new collection or shut-off notices at least through the end of the year.  Those individuals who have been impacted by excessive automatic payments are receiving refund checks from the department.

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“I’m confident that the DWP can fix this problem,” said Wesson.  “However, we have families who live from paycheck-to-paycheck and seniors living on fixed incomes, whose lives have been turned upside down.  The DWP needs to do more outreach and establish better lines communication with its customers.”


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