Reports in southland media say the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s new, computerized billing system has spit out inaccurate bills, incorrect estimates and frustratingly long waits on hold for customer service. Presumably, LADWP bills sent out to the Owens Valley come from the same system. Below is a press release from DWP to point those who suffer from wrong bills in the right direction:
Update on LADWP’s New Customer Billing and Information System (Press Release)
On September 2, 2013, the LADWP completed the replacement of its 39-year old Customer Information System (CIS) after over three years of planning and development.
This CIS platform touches nearly every aspect of utility operations, including customer service, meter reading and billing. It is the heart of our customer service system and used during each customer interaction by phone or online. Over time, this system will help us significantly improve the customer experience.
Any time an information system of this size and scope is replaced, issues will arise and need to be addressed within the first 1 to 3 billing cycles. LADWP is currently near the beginning of the 2nd billing cycle.
To date, approximately 3% to 5% of our customers have experienced delayed bills and late notices, and incorrectly estimated bills, which has led to periods of excessively long and unacceptable hold times when customers have called to report a problem or ask routine questions about their account. In addition, some commercial and residential solar customers and large multi-facility customers have experienced problems with their bills. While these problems have affected a relatively small percentage of our customers, they have resulted in higher than normal call volumes and these calls have taken longer to resolve than is typically the case, resulting in longer than acceptable hold times for other customers who are trying to get through to an operator.
LADWP is fully committed to resolving these issues as quickly as possible. As part of those efforts, next week we expect to begin offering customers a Virtual Hold feature, which will provide customers the option of receiving a call-back, rather than waiting on hold. We are also accelerating efforts to reduce the number of customers receiving inaccurate, late, or delinquent notices.
As the system stabilizes over time, we expect the number of issues and customers affected by them to be reduced significantly and ultimately eliminated. For those customers who have experienced exceptionally long hold times, or who have received an incorrect bill, we offer our sincere apologies.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to resolve issues that have resulted in our not meeting the highest service standards for every customer. We will continue to provide updates to our customers and stakeholders over the coming weeks as the system continues to stabilize.
Various Ways to Contact LADWP to Get Your Questions Answered
- Use Phone Self-Serve Options: Our 1-800 DIAL DWP phone system provides callers with a variety of self-serve options, including the ability to report outages, make payments, obtain bill-pay extensions, and other services, all without the need to speak to a customer service representative.
- Use Virtual Hold—If you need to speak to a Customer Service Representative, don’t wait on hold. LADWP is currently testing virtual hold technology and plans to implement it next week to reduce hold times. Virtual hold allows customers to receive a callback at a set time instead of waiting on the line for a representative.
- Email Us—Email account inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your concern will be responded to by a representative as quickly as possible and in most cases, within one business day.
- Call During Off Peak Hours—If possible, call on Saturdays and Sundays between 7am and 10 pm, especially Sundays, as call volumes are typically much lower on the weekends.
- Go Online—Use the LADWP.com website to: report outages, view the status of existing outages, view account balances and make payments, among other services, without speaking to a representative.