The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has started sharing information on credits or refunds to approximately 2.4 million customer accounts that were potentially overcharged by the flawed implementation of its billing system.
LADWP current and former customers can notify the utility whether they want to receive a credit or refund. The total amount of overcharges to be credited or refunded was estimated at approximately $67.5 million, according to a March 27 release.
The overcharges occurred when LADWP switched to what it described as a faulty new billing system in 2013 and billing problems continued into 2014.
"This is an important step toward fulfilling our commitment to make whole every customer who was affected and is owed money as a result of the problems experienced because of the flawed billing system launched in 2013," LADWP General Manager David Wright said in a release. "In most cases refunds or credits will be automatically provided; in other cases we need additional information from customers in order to determine whether they are to receive a credit or refund and to determine the amount of the credit or refund owed."
The reimbursement stems from a pending class-action settlement agreement, which is subject to final court approval. The Los Angeles Superior Court is scheduled to hear the agreement July 7.
The settlement, which received preliminary approval on Dec. 30, 2016, calls on LADWP to refund customers 100% of the amount overcharged, which will be verified by the court-appointed independent monitor for accuracy.
The city-owned utility plans to include the amount and mailing costs for these and all refunds in the damages the city and the utility are seeking to recover from PricewaterhouseCoopers, through separate litigation in which PwC is accused of "fraud" and other claims.
"We remain committed to holding PricewaterhouseCoopers accountable and are seeking full reimbursement of all of the overcharges and costs caused by the failed system they designed and delivered to LADWP," Wright said.