Updated January 17, 2017
The City of Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners today voted unanimously today to approve an initial version of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) first-ever Customer Bill of Rights. Following a motion by Commissioner Jill Barad, the Commission also invited comments and input on the document by the public and Neighborhood Councils over the next 90-days. The Customer Bill of Rights will then be revisited, and possibly revised, after the comment period concludes. Amendments to the Customer Bill of Rights will also be considered at least every two years thereafter, according to LADWP General Manager David Wright.
The landmark document — unveiled January 3 by Mayor Eric Garcetti, LADWP Board President Mel Levine and LADWP General Manager David Wright — formalizes service standards for the utility, and promises safe, sustainable and reliable water and power service for all LADWP customers.
“Customers have a right to reliable, safe and affordable service from their utility, and that right has to be protected with public commitments that hold us accountable to the Angelenos who pay the bills. When I came into office, LADWP would have been unable to make some of the commitments in this Bill of Rights — now it will be unable to break them. We will keep working to improve service every single day. I thank the Board of Commissioners for acting today on behalf of all ratepayers,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“It is important that we move forward with establishing service levels so that we can implement and establish tracking measures across LADWP before the effective date of March 1st,” said General Manager Wright. “We welcome additional input and comment from neighborhood councils on potential refinements to the Customer Bill of Rights, and will revisit it with the Board after a 90-day comment period.”
The LADWP Customer Bill of Rights makes four core commitments to LADWP customers: timely, clear and consistent customer service; reliable, safe and sustainable power; reliable and high-quality water; and a collaborative approach to implementing customer programs like rebates and incentives.
Each core commitment contains details about LADWP’s service philosophy in that area, as well as specific, measurable service standards. For example, the document promises customers that call wait times will not exceed three minutes on average, and that all questions sent via email will receive a response within 24 hours, or one business day.
The Bill of Rights also includes language that holds LADWP accountable if the utility fails to deliver adequate service. If a request to open a new residential account is not processed within one business day, for example, LADWP will waive the connection fee. And if LADWP takes longer than 10 days after the final inspection to process a new business service connection of 200 amps or less, that business will receive a $25 credit.
In addition, the document includes concrete commitments to making LADWP’s water and power service more sustainable.
“Residents and customers want the lights to come on, water to come out of the faucet, good customer service, and they want this at a fair cost,” said Councilmember Nury Martinez, who chairs the City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee. “Those are my minimum expectations. The Customer Bill of Rights will help ensure this quality of service for all Los Angeles residents.”
Mel Levine, President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, said, “LADWP’s most important responsibility is to all Angelenos and the communities it serves. The Customer Bill of Rights shows how seriously committed LADWP is to being the world-class utility and customer service provider that Los Angeles deserves.”
The Customer Bill of Rights is part of a broader effort by Mayor Garcetti to improve customer service at LADWP — an effort he has pushed aggressively since taking office in 2013. When Mayor Garcetti appointed David Wright as LADWP General Manager in August 2016, he directed Wright to make developing the Bill of Rights one of his first tasks.
“The Customer Bill of Rights reaffirms our commitment to our customers to provide excellent customer service through reliable water and power service, and accurate and timely billing,” Wright said. “This governs our work and service philosophy at LADWP.”
For more information, and to view the full text of the current version of LADWP’s Customer Bill of Rights, visit www.ladwp.com/CustomerBillofRights.
Comments can be submitted via email to CommunityRelations@ladwp.com.
January 5, 2017
You may have heard that Mayor Garcetti held a news conference January 3 to unveil his Los Angeles Department of Water and Power “Customer Bill of Rights”. This proposal was then to have been considered for adoption an hour later at a regular meeting of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. The problem was no copy of the proposed Customer Bill of Rights was included with or linked to the meeting agenda, nor was a copy posted on the LADWP website until an hour or so before the meeting start time. (And yet there was an elaborate, poster-sized version available for the media at the news conference; see attached photos.) There was no advance notification provided to the City’s 96 Neighborhood Councils which collectively represent all of LADWP’s ratepayers.
To the Commission’s credit, they deferred action for (only) two weeks (until January 17th) to provide an opportunity for Neighborhood Councils, stakeholders, and ratepayers to review and comment on this proposed policy.
Make no mistake: given LADWP’s various billing snafus, broken water mains, and other service delivery challenges, a Customer Bill of Rights is long overdue. We just need to be certain that these policies are adequately focused to truly benefit the ratepayers, and not the City’s politicians, bureaucrats, outside contractors, or other special interests.
Please take advantage of this limited opportunity to provide input to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners by emailing: email@example.com.