Business & Economy

Judge grants preliminary OK to LADWP overcharging settlement

File: The Reflecting Pool surrounds Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles
File: The Reflecting Pool surrounds Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles
Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

A judge granted preliminary approval Friday to a class-action settlement for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers who were overcharged $67.5 million due to a flawed billing system that debuted in 2013.

The department reiterated what it said last week, stating that "every customer who was overcharged will receive a credit, or a refund if they are no longer an LADWP customer, for the full amount they were overcharged. An independent third-party expert appointed by the Court will review the amount of credit or refund for accuracy."

The system was designed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and LADWP is suing the company to recoup its costs.

“We are very pleased with Judge Berle’s decision today because it moves us a step closer to reimbursing every affected customer every penny they were overcharged,” said David H. Wright, LADWP General Manager in a statement released Friday. “We remain committed to holding Pricewaterhouse Coopers accountable and are seeking full reimbursement of all of the overcharges and costs caused by the failed system they designed and delivered to LADWP.”

Once the settlement receives final approval, customers should receive a notice of their rights and how much they're owed within 90 days.

Consumer advocates have argued customers should also be entitled to interest on the money they overpaid.

But the attorney representing the plaintiffs, Tom Merriman, said interest payments are uncommon in consumer class-action lawsuits.

"For a settlement to be delivering 100 percent of every penny overbilled, that's a great settlement for consumers," Merriman told KPCC.

You can read more about the repayment process here.