October 19, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Warning: Double Check Your Department of Water & Power Bills!

From Councilman Mike Bonin:

When Susan O. called my office, I could hardly believe the outrageous story she shared. Even though she saw a DWP meter-reader visit her house in West LA, she received a bill, based on an “estimate,” and was nearly double what she usually pays.

DWP

My office gets dozens of calls a day from people asking for help cutting red tape or solving problems in their neighborhoods. Lately, more and more of these calls have been from people like Susan, who were at wit’s end over incorrect and inflated DWP bills.

(Click here to read “A Message to Our Customers About Our Billing Problems” from the DWP.)

The Department of Water & Power replaced its 40-year old billing system last year, and the upgrade created a series of problems for tens of thousands of customers. Some people received incorrect estimates, improperly inflating their bills. Others didn’t receive bills at all. Alarmingly, some people who signed up for automatic bill payment had huge sums deducted their checking accounts. It is wrong – and Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed new management at DWP to fix the problems ASAP.

If you know or think you’ve received and incorrect bill, please follow the steps listed below. And I urge you to share this information with your neighbors, and encourage them to double-check their recent bills. This is especially important for seniors who are living on fixed incomes and may be unaware of the billing problems.

1. Check Your Bill
Please pay attention to your bill and to be wary of any possible inaccuracies. One section of your bill includes a summary of the power you used, compared to your bills from previous years. If your power use is dramatically higher, even though you haven’t significantly changed the way you use power, there is a chance you are being over-billed.

2. Visit DWP’s New Billing Website
DWP has developed a new section of their website to provide information about billing inaccuracies. Please visit the site to find out more, and read a message from the new DWP General Manager Marcie Edwards for an update about what DWP is doing to address the issues.

3. Call DWP at 1-800-DIAL DWP (1-800-342-5397)
The controversy over the billing errors have been compounded by huge problems with DWP’s customer service system. Many people endured sitting on hold for hours only to get an insufficient response or unhelpful reply. The new general manager has made fixing this system her top priority. Below, please find some tips to reduce wait times.

Use the new “virtual hold” system by dialing “0” after inputting your account information and leave a message for a call back;

Call Tuesday through Sunday, as Mondays are the busiest day of the week;

Call during the first hour of business, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., or in the evening between 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, when call volumes are lower; or,

Call on Saturday or Sunday, as call volumes are approximately 40-60% lower on Saturdays and approximately 50-70% lower on Sundays compared to weekdays.

If you continue to have problems with DWP’s billing or customer service systems, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (310) 575-8461 or (310) 568-8772.

These problems are unacceptable, and we need to make sure they are solved, and that you and your neighbors don’t pay a penny more than you should.

Regards,

MIKE

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