Los Angeles Department of Water and Power introduces 'customer bill of rights'

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The LADWP introduced a customer bill of rights in a move aimed at improving services and increasing public confidence. (KABC)

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power hoped to win over some of its many irate customers by introducing a customer bill of rights.

There's been no shortage of angry customers in recent years, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's father.

"I remember my father calling me saying, 'I was just on hold for 40 minutes. You're the Mayor of Los Angeles, I called your department - my department of water and power - and got a 40 minute wait.' Nothing lights the fire under a mayor's feet like a call from their parents," Garcetti quipped during a press conference on Tuesday.

New LADWP general manager David Wright, who took over in 2016, made the bill of rights a top priority when he accepted the job.

"We have hired 300 new customer service reps and a couple hundred billers. Those are the people that do your bills, that re-calculate your bills if there are issues," Wright explained.

The bill promises to treat customers with honesty and respect. It also states that call wait times will not exceed three minutes and any bill that exceeds three times the average historic use will automatically be reviewed.

The utility will even give a $25 credit to customers if it makes certain mistakes.

The move comes as the nation's largest publicly-owned utility company deals with a $67 million class action lawsuit settlement involving hundreds of thousands of customers who were over billed.

"We shouldn't have ever gotten to a place where there wasn't some trigger when people were getting bills that were three, five, 10 times what their monthly average is. That stops today," Garcetti said.

The board of commissioners was expected to vote on the proposal in February.
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