A state committee agreed Wednesday to audit the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's new billing system that has led to tens of thousands of inaccurate bills and ultimately a loss in revenue for the city.
Though members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted to conduct the audit, they agreed to hold off on their work until June 1 so that any efforts made by DWP to correct the problems would be reflected in the report. The audit is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
"No one wants the city of Los Angeles or the DWP to succeed more than I—no one," said Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), who called for the audit. "But to do so requires oversight, transparency and an explanation of what happened."
Last fall, DWP officials testified that 70,000 customers received incorrect bills as a result of the new customer service software. And when those Angelenos called to complain, they faced nearly hour-long wait times.
The interim executive director for DWP's Customer Service told the joint committee the utility was not equipped to handle the situation created by the new system beginning last September.
"We weren't prepared for the problems that occurred," said Randy Howard. "We weren't staffed properly. We didn't respond properly."
The new system was implemented under former DWP GM Ron Nichols, who has since retired. His replacement, Marcie Edwards, has been on the job for about two weeks.