LADWP to Begin Notifying Customers of Pending Reimbursement of Claims Related to
Class Action Billing Settlement
100 Percent of LADWP Customers Impacted Will Be Made Whole
LOS ANGELES (March 27, 2017) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will begin mailing letters Tuesday to notify current and former customers of their status related to receiving a credit or refund, resulting from the pending class action settlement agreement over the flawed implementation of its billing system.
Over the next week, informational packages regarding the proposed settlement will be mailed to the approximately 2.4 million customer accounts that may have experienced billing errors and were possibly overcharged during a three-year period from September 2013 to December 2016 or who may have been impacted from their participation in the LADWP’s solar incentive program since February 13, 2010. The class action settlement payouts are pending final court approval of the agreement, which is scheduled to be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 7, 2017. Assuming no appeals, payments would begin being issued according to a schedule set by the court, which LADWP anticipates to begin in September.
The vast majority of credits or refunds are in relation to miscalculated late charges. In addition, as legally required by the settlement, some payouts will be in amounts of less than $1. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is in line with LADWP’s commitment to reimburse customers for 100 percent of the amount overcharged, as verified by the Court-appointed Independent Monitor. The amount and mailing costs for these and all refunds will be included in the damages the City and LADWP are seeking to recover from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) through separate litigation in which PwC is accused of fraud and other claims.
“This is an important step toward fulfilling our commitment to make whole every customer who was affected and is owed money as a result of the problems experienced because of the flawed billing system launched in 2013,” LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said. “I encourage everyone who receives this informational packet to review it closely. In most cases refunds or credits will be automatically provided; in other cases we need additional information from customers in order to determine whether they are to receive a credit or refund and to determine the amount of the credit or refund owed. ”
The settlement comes as the result of the rollout of a faulty billing system implemented by PwC that produced erroneous bills for many LADWP customers.
The informational packets include a general notice explaining the proposed settlement benefits and how it affects the customer identified as part of the class action lawsuit; an individualized letter that pertains to the customer’s account; and a claim form. The individual letter is targeted to four categories of customer accounts:
1) Accounts that have been verified as being overcharged with an amount that will be specified.
2) Accounts where the customer may be entitled to a credit or refund but more information is needed to determine how much is owed.
3) Accounts that may be entitled to a credit or refund pending additional field work investigation.
4) Accounts that were determined not to have been overcharged or otherwise damaged. These customers still have the option of filing a claim if they believe they are entitled to a credit or refund and it will be investigated.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, which received preliminary approval on December 30, 2016, LADWP will refund customers 100 percent of the amount overcharged and verified by the Court- appointed Independent Monitor for accuracy. Current customers will receive reimbursement in the form of credit to their account while former customers will receive refund checks in the mail.
Customers who disagree with the amount of their credit or refund, or if it was determined they are not eligible for a credit or refund, are entitled to submit a claim and also have it reviewed by an independent, Court-appointed Special Master. Instructions for filing such a claim for any loss they believe they incurred are included in the information packets.
The total amount of overcharges to be credited or refunded was reported to be approximately $67.5 million, although the final total may change as claims are processed and verified. LADWP and the City continue to pursue legal action against PwC to recover costs associated with the failed implementation of the billing system, including overcharges and legal costs. The case is currently pending in court.
“We remain committed to holding PricewaterhouseCoopers accountable and are seeking full reimbursement of all of the overcharges and costs caused by the failed system they designed and delivered to LADWP,” Wright said.
Questions regarding the information packets or the pending class action settlement should be directed to the Claims Administrator. Visit www.LADWPBillingSettlement.com or call 844-899-6219.