LADWP to Open Four Regional Customer Service Centers on Saturdays to Help Resolve Customer Billing Problems
“Bill Resolution Saturdays” to be held in Crenshaw, Van Nuys, Watts and
|LOS ANGELES— In an ongoing effort to resolve customer billing problems, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will open four of its Customer Service Centers on Saturdays for the next eight weeks, starting this Saturday, March 22. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We are tackling our billing problems head-on by having customer service representatives available on Saturdays to assist customers with their billing problems in person,” said Interim Executive Director of Customer Service Randy Howard. “We are working on multiple fronts to improve our operations and make good on our promise to get these billing issues corrected for our customers. We hope that by opening these centers on Saturdays we will be able to help more of our customers resolve their billing questions and problems.”
When visiting the service centers, customers can expect full customer service assistance from staff that are able to take payments, process service order requests, answer billing questions, and resolve billing issues.
Locations of the customer service centers are:
Van Nuys CSC
West Los Angeles CSC
Los Angeles, CA 90025
In response to the significant operational problems encountered with the replacement of its 40- year old customer billing system, LADWP apologized in an open letter to its customers and launched a new billing information webpage to allow customers to track the progress being made.
Customers who have questions about their bill are encouraged to contact LADWP online at www.ladwp.com/ContactUs or call 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397) and use the self-service or personal call back option, which eliminates the need for customers to wait on hold by having a customer service representative call them back.
Participate in DWP’s Stormwater Capture Master Plan
Do you have any great ideas on reducing LA’s dependence on imported water by using stormwater capture to increase the local water supply?
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is looking for public support for their Stormwater Capture Master Plan. Stormwater capture involves catching rainfall and runoff from open space and urban lands for direct use or allowing the water to percolate into groundwater basins for future use.
The plan is currently underway and will be completed in mid-2015. Now is the time to think of new strategies to deal with the current drought and inevitable future dry seasons.
Come to the public meeting to learn more and talk with DWP about its Master Plan on March 26 at Los Angeles River Center Atrium, 570 West Ave. 26, Los Angeles, CA 90065 rom 6-8 pm. If you have any questions, contact Rafael Villegas at Rafael.Villegas
LADWP offers the following tips for electrical safety during a storm:
Downed Power Lines
- Never touch a downed or dangling wire or anyone or anything in contact with it. Always assume a downed line is still energized.
- Report any downed power lines immediately by calling the LADWP at 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397). If you or someone else is in danger, call 911.
- Don’t touch anyone in contact with a power source – you could be killed or seriously injured. Instead, turn off power at the control panel. Then call for help and tell them it’s an electrical injury.
- If a power line falls on your car, stay in the car and wait for help. If you must get out, make sure you do not touch the metal parts of the car and the ground at the same time. The safest method is to open the door, stand on the door sill and jump free without touching the car.
- Stay away from metal fences, such as a chain link fence – there may be a power line down and touching the fence somewhere beyond your sight.
- If there is damage to the connection from the power pole to your house, you should go to the electrical box and turn off the main switch or shut off the fuse switch. Again, always assume electric lines are live.
- In case of an electrical emergency, stay calm and think before you act. Don’t become a victim while trying to help others. Call 911.
If Your Power Goes Out
- Stay calm.
- Have a flashlight and extra batteries nearby. Don’t use candles in a power outage.
- Turn off lights but leave one light turned on so you will know when your service is restored.
- Turn off and unplug appliances and other electrical equipment. Unplug heat-producing items like irons and space heaters. This helps prevent circuit overloading, which could delay restoration of service.
- Call LADWP and report your outage at 1-800-DIAL DWP (1-800-342-5397).
DWP Update on Billing and Information System
On September 2, 2013, the LADWP completed the replacement of its 39-year old Customer Information System (CIS) after over three years of planning and development.
This CIS platform touches nearly every aspect of utility operations, including customer service, meter reading and billing. It is the heart of our customer service system and used during each customer interaction by phone or online. Over time, this system will help us significantly improve the customer experience.
Any time an information system of this size and scope is replaced, issues will arise and need to be addressed within the first 1 to 3 billing cycles. LADWP is currently near the beginning of the 2nd billing cycle.
To date, approximately 3% to 5% of our customers have experienced delayed bills and late notices, and incorrectly estimated bills, which has led to periods of excessively long and unacceptable hold times when customers have called to report a problem or ask routine questions about their account. In addition, some commercial and residential solar customers and large multi-facility customers have experienced problems with their bills. While these problems have affected a relatively small percentage of our customers, they have resulted in higher than normal call volumes and these calls have taken longer to resolve than is typically the case, resulting in longer than acceptable hold times for other customers who are trying to get through to an operator.
LADWP is fully committed to resolving these issues as quickly as possible. As part of those efforts, next week we expect to begin offering customers a Virtual Hold feature, which will provide customers the option of receiving a call-back, rather than waiting on hold. We are also accelerating efforts to reduce the number of customers receiving inaccurate, late, or delinquent notices.
As the system stabilizes over time, we expect the number of issues and customers affected by them to be reduced significantly and ultimately eliminated. For those customers who have experienced exceptionally long hold times, or who have received an incorrect bill, we offer our sincere apologies.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to resolve issues that have resulted in our not meeting the highest service standards for every customer. We will continue to provide updates to our customers and stakeholders over the coming weeks as the system continues to stabilize.
Various Ways to Contact LADWP to Get Your Questions Answered
- Use Phone Self-Serve Options: Our 1-800 DIAL DWP phone system provides callers with a variety of self-serve options, including the ability to report outages, make payments, obtain bill-pay extensions, and other services, all without the need to speak to a customer service representative.
- Use Virtual Hold—If you need to speak to a Customer Service Representative, don’t wait on hold. LADWP is currently testing virtual hold technology and plans to implement it next week to reduce hold times. Virtual hold allows customers to receive a callback at a set time instead of waiting on the line for a representative.
- Email Us—Email account inquiries to ccenter. Your concern will be responded to by a representative as quickly as possible and in most cases, within one business day.
- Call During Off Peak Hours—If possible, call on Saturdays and Sundays between 7am and 10 pm, especially Sundays, as call volumes are typically much lower on the weekends.
- Go Online—Use the LADWP.com website to: report outages, view the status of existing outages, view account balances and make payments, among other services, without speaking to a representative.
Update Regarding LADWP’s Replacement of Customer Billing and Information System
On September 2, 2013, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power completed the replacement of its 39-year old Customer Information System (CIS) after over three years of planning and development.
LADWP’s CIS is a platform that touches nearly every aspect of utility operations, including customer service, meter reading and billing. It is the heart of our customer service system and used during each customer interaction by phone or online. The replacement system is the industry standard and will allow LADWP to improve its customer experience over time. Overall, transition to the new system has gone very well. It is performing as expected. However, any time an information system of this size and scope is replaced, issues will arise and need to be addressed as the system is implemented and stabilized. The bulk of these issues will surface and be addressed in the first customer billing cycle – approximately 60 days – after the system goes “live.”
Today, still in that 60-day window, the system is performing well and significant progress with CIS stabilization has been made. However, some of our customers have experienced delayed bills and late notices, and incorrectly estimated bills, which has led to periods of excessively long and unacceptable hold times when our customers have called to report a problem or ask a question regarding their account. In addition, some commercial and residential solar customers and large summary bill customers have experienced problems with their bills.
LADWP is fully committed to resolving these issues as quickly as possible. As the system stabilizes over time, we expect the number of issues and customers affected by them to be reduced and ultimately eliminated. For those customers who have experienced exceptionally long hold times, or who have received an incorrect bill, we offer our sincere apologies.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to resolve issues that have resulted in our not meeting the highest service standards for every customer. We will continue to provide periodic updates to our customers and stakeholders over the coming weeks as the system continues to stabilize.
The LADWP is currently conducting customer telephone and email surveys. This is part of a study to better understand customers’ relationship with LADWP. The following is the information regarding the survey.DURATION: 2/12/13 – 3/1 /13. Customers will be contacted over the next three weeks. WHO IS CALLING/EMAILING: Interview Services of America, and RKS Consulting are performing the surveys on behalf of the LADWP. METHOD OF CONTACT: eMail and Telephone only. No in-person surveys will be conducted. No one will conduct the survey at the customer’s home or business, and the customer will not be asked to go anywhere to take the survey.
CUSTOMER TYPES: Residential and commercial customers. TYPE OF REQUEST: Opinions and preferences. They will NOT be asking for any personal identification information, such as: Social Security Number, Account Number, Driver’s License, or Financial Information. INCENTIVES / FEES: There are no incentives provided, or fees charged, for participating in the survey. LADWP INFORMATION: The firm conducting the survey will not answer any LADWP questions or comment on any matter related to the customer’s account. If you need any additional information, please contact: Victoria Cross
Government & Neighborhood Relations Liaison
111 North Hope Street, Room 1531
Los Angeles, CA 90012
LADWP is pleased to open the application period for a second round of grants to local non-profit organizations for community outreach, research, & public education activities to improve energy efficiency and water conservation in our communities. Seventeen grants of $45,000 each are proposed to be funded by the LADWP, pending approval of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners.
Building upon the success of the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)-funded grants, the proposed round of funding will further engage residents and businesses in reducing their energy and water use, and allow them to benefit from lower utility bills. The grant program will assist non-profit organizations to affect behavior change in populations that may not be addressed through more traditional communication strategies. We hope to learn new and effective methods of communicating from this process that can be applied to LADWP and other City programs in the future.
All applications must be sent to email@example.com by 5:00 p.m. on October 31, 2012.
Here’s the link: www.ladwp.com/np
DATE: August 7, 2012 11:55:18 AM PDT Cool Tips for Hot Days How to Stay Cool and Conserve Energy as Summer Heats Up
LOS ANGELES — With high temperatures in the forecast for the next several days in Los Angeles, LADWP offers these tips to help customers stay cool and conserve energy. Energy conservation during high temperature summer days helps prevent strain on power system infrastructure while also helping our customers save money on their power bills.
These simple tips are easy to implement in daily routines and are highly effective conservation measures:
Tips for the Home
• Adjust thermostat to 78 degrees to reduce energy usage during the hottest hours of the day when air conditioning systems have to work hardest to cool.
• Limit the use of appliances during peak hours of the day- use washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and other heavy appliances during evening hours.
• Try to avoid using your stove or oven during peak hours of the day since it will add to the heat inside the home.
• Ventilate your home at night and early morning by opening windows and doors to clear out the heat and allow cooler air to circulate.
• Turn off lights and equipment when they are not in use.
• Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) wherever appropriate.
• Close draperies, shades or blinds during the heat of the day to reduce the extra heat from direct sunlight.
• Check your home for adequate insulation and for proper sealing of windows and exterior doors.
• Plant shade trees to reduce heat gain inside the house.
• Install / use ceiling fans or “whole house” fans for comfort cooling. A whole house fan will cool down your house early evenings and early mornings for a fraction of the energy cost of operating an A/C unit.
• Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically and maximize your energy savings.
• Clean or replace air-conditioner filter(s) every month to maintain efficiency and air flow.
• Regularly brush or vacuum the condenser coils at the bottom or rear of your refrigerator and check door gasket for tight fit and adjust if necessary.
• When buying appliances, choose energy-saving EnergyStar-rated models.
• Limit the time you run your pool pump during summer to six hours a day, and schedule the run time to avoid operation between 1 pm and 5 pm.
• Unplug “energy vampires” like cell phone chargers, DVD players, microwave ovens and other appliances that use energy even when turned off or in sleep mode.
Tips for the Workplace
• Turn off your desk and overhead lights, and meeting room lights, if they are not needed, or install motion detector switches in each room.
• Keep personal appliance use to a minimum.
• Turn off all computer equipment when you leave the office or when they are not in use for long periods of time.
• Be sure your computer equipment goes into sleep mode when temporarily not in use.
• Go paperless when possible. Reduced printing and copying translates into reduced energy use.
LADWP Energy Conservation Rebate Programs
• Energy Star-Rated Room Air Conditioners. $50 rebate on qualifying models.
• Central Air Conditioners. $100-$120 rebate on an energy efficient model.
• Refrigerator Exchange for Low Income Customers. Qualifying low-income or Lifeline customers can receive a free energy efficient refrigerator in exchange for an old inefficient model.
• Refrigerator Turn-In and Recycle. LADWP customers who buy new Energy Star-rated refrigerators and turn in their old model for recycling can receive up to $115 in rebates.
• Whole House Fans. $200 rebate per unit.
• Energy Star-Rated Residential Window Products. Rebate of $2.00 per square foot of glass for qualifying models.
• Cool Roofs. Rebate of $0.30 per square foot.
• Pool Pump and Motor Replacements. $500 rebate on variable speed models.
For More Information
• How to apply for the above rebates, please click here.
• For energy-saving tips and programs, click here.
• The City of Los Angeles “Ready L.A.” for information on how to prepare for a heat wave.
Easy to Use Internet Tool Will Help Customers Understand and
Anticipate Effect of Proposed Rate Increases on Their Water & Electric Bill
To help customers understand the potential cost of proposed electric and water rate changes, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has created an online user-friendly rates calculator that enables customers to compare the impact of the proposed rate increases against their average monthly bill.
The rates calculator provides a tool to help customers determine the potential impact of the rate changes based on their historic household or business electricity and water use.
For over a year the LADWP has been conducting public outreach to inform its customers about the fundamental reasons that power and water rate increases are needed. In April, the LADWP announced proposed power and water rate increases that will pay for critically needed investments to meet legal mandates and replace aging infrastructure.
“LADWP is facing an unprecedented set of legal mandates that affect much of the city’s traditional energy and water supplies,” said LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols. “On top of that, our infrastructure is old and getting older, and requires increased investment to maintain the reliable service our customers have counted on for a century. As a public utility, one of LADWP’s guiding principles is to keep power and water rates competitive. While the proposed increases will raise rates, they will still remain well below those of neighboring utilities,” Mr. Nichols said.
On the power side, the average increase across all customers will be about 1.4 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) over the two years, or about 10.8%. For typical residential customers using 500 kWh per month, the increase will be about one-half that, or 5.4% in total over the two years, which is about $3.55 per month on the typical residential bill of $65.79.
The average water customer would see their rate increase approximately 4.8% over two years, excluding a temporary pass-through increase for purchased water due to this year’s near record dry winter. The additional revenue will allow the LADWP water system to ramp up investment in developing local water supplies to reduce the city’s reliance on more expensive imported water purchases from the Metropolitan Water District, replace aging infrastructure, and meet state and federal water quality regulations.
The power and water rate proposals are currently being reviewed by the LADWP Ratepayer Advocate. They are expected to be considered by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners in August, and thereafter by the City Council.
To learn more about the 2012-2014 rates proposal and use the online rates calculator, please visit www.ladwp.com/rates.