DWP Customers Could Get $50 Million More in Refunds

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Back in 2013, the Department of Water and Power incorrectly charged hundreds of thousands of customers.

In 2017, a settlement was reached and it was expected that the DWP would give back over $67 million to ratepayers.

Now, the Los Angeles Times reports that lawyers are looking at the case and say that it needs to be "re-examined".

This calls into question the work of City Attorney, Mike Feuer, whose office originally dealt with the case.

Ivor Pine, a spokesperson for Feuer says that they haven't had a chance to review these new revelations yet.

Last month, Feuer did say that, "the settlement, I still believe, was a good settlement for the city and for ratepayers".

Other people have criticized the deal with some lawyers calling it "half-baked" because it gave all the power to the city.

At the time, the city also made a lawsuit against the firm that worked on the billing software, PricewaterhouseCoopers. In court, the company brought to light this fact: "The lead plaintiff in the ratepayers' class-action lawsuit against the city, Antwon Jones, had been represented by an attorney who was also working for Feuer on the PricewaterhouseCoopers lawsuit".

Brian Kabateck, Brian Hong, and Anastasia Mazzella recently made a filing which said that ratepayers may be owed over $50 million.

Attorneys wrote that the city took, "favorable attorneys who were willing to agree to the terms of the settlement, which placed the city in control of practically every aspect of the settlement".

Kabateck also questioned the "nature of the errors" and whether or not ratepayers truly got the 100% refund they were owed.

Tim Blood is another attorney who filed a lawsuit over the billing errors.

He says, "I'm very happy that, at long last, this settlement is going to get the scrutiny it deserves".

Ellen Cheng is a spokeswoman for the DWP and she made a statement saying that the settlement had already gone over "multiple layers of independent review".

She added, "However, in keeping with the city's twin goals of achieving a 100% return to ratepayers of all overcharges and fully remediating the billing system, we welcome a thorough review of the settlement, the payouts and the programs developed to identify class members".

Another issue Kabateck and his colleagues had was whether or not ratepayers even knew how to make a claim for the refund.

Kabateck says, "I'm not sure your average customer would know they had been misbilled, incorrectly billed, or had any other dispute with DWP".

In any case, this may be a costly investigation to the city.

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