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