Customers to be made whole in class action billing settlement

By on March 30, 2017

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) customers who were possibly overcharged for services during the three-year period from September 2013 to December 2016, or who may have been impacted from their participation in the LADWP’s solar incentive program since February 13, 2010, will be receiving informational packages regarding a proposed settlement within the next week.

The informational packet, which began distribution Tuesday, is to notify current and former customers as to whether they will be receiving a credit or refund over the flawed implementation of a billing system. The vast majority of the refunds or credits pertain to miscalculated late charges.

The pending class action settlement payouts are awaiting final approval of an agreement to be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 7, 2017. Payments would begin being issued to customers according to a schedule set by the court, which LADWP anticipates to begin in September, assuming no appeals are filed.

“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 H. Wright said. “I encourage everyone who receives this informational packet to review it closely. 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 settlement comes as the result of the rollout of a faulty billing system implemented by vendor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that produced erroneous bills for many LADWP customers. The costs associated with the mailing of this week’s informational packet and all refunds will be included in the damages the city of Los Angeles and LADWP are seeking to recover from PricewaterhouseCoopers through a separate litigation whereby PwC is accused of fraud and other issues.

In relation to the pending litigation against PwC, Wright said, “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.”

The informational packets include three items: a general notice explaining the proposed settlement benefits and how it affects the customer identified as part of the class action lawsuit; an individualized letter that pertains to the customer’s account; and, a claim form. Although some of the ultimate payments may be in amounts of less than $1, it is part of the pending lawsuit and is in line with the department’s commitment to reimburse customers for 100 percent of any amount overcharged.

Customers who disagree with the amount of their credit or refund, or if it was determined they are not eligible for a credit or refund, are entitled to submit a claim and have it reviewed by an independent, Court-appointed Special Master. Instructions for filing such a claim for any loss they believe they incurred will be included in the informational packets.

Questions and/or additional information regarding the informational packets or the pending class action settlement should be directed to the Claims Administrator by visiting: www.LADWPBillingSettlement.com or by calling 844-899-6219.