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DWP Wait Times Improve; Officials 'Working Out' Billing, Meter Issues

LOS ANGELES ( — Customers with the Department of Water & Power (DWP) can expect shorter wait times while calling about billing issues even as the utility continues to work toward improved services, officials said Wednesday.

KNX 1070's Ed Mertz reports DWP Commissioner Jill Banks Barad says although call waiting times still average about a half hour, that still marks an improvement.

DWP Wait Times Improve; Officials 'Working Out' Billing, Meter Issues

In a message addressed to customers that was posted on the DWP website on March 3, the utility acknowledged about 60,000 customers are still affected by "continuing problems" with the DWP's customer billing systems.

According to the DWP's Customer and Billing System Dashboard, customers were put on hold an average of 25 to 29 minutes during the first three weeks of February - far short of the utility's goal of three minutes.

"We've actually gone from an hour and a half to 45 minutes to 29 minutes, so we really are making progress," Barad said.

While the utility continues to work towards fixing glitches with its $162 million computerized billing system, Barad said some customers have not been billed in six months, with about $176 million in bills past due by more than 90 days, according to the DWP Dashboard.

Other customers are getting billed for what Barad called a very low "estimated reading" of their meter - an ongoing issue that she acknowledged is unacceptable.

"That really needs to be worked out," said Barad. "We're working that out at the same time we're working the calls."

RELATED: DWP Union Boss Still Mum About $40M In Ratepayer Funds Spent On Nonprofit Trusts

The City Council last month unanimously confirmed former Anaheim city manager Marcie Edwards as the new DWP general manager. Edwards pledged to make improving customer service and resolving billing issues among her top priorities.

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