At least $67.5 million could be refunded to Department of Water and Power customers inaccurately billed following a glitch-filled upgrade of the utility’s billing system.
That’s a result of a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge grantinng preliminary approval Friday of a class action settlement.
If given final approval, the settlement will resolve a lawsuit in which customers demanded refunds on overcharges that occurred when PricewaterhouseCoopers carried out an overhaul of the utility’s customer information system in 2013.
Jack Landskroner, an attorney for the customers, said Friday’s action by Judge Elihu Berle means “we’re one step closer to getting consumers a 100 percent recovery of what they were overbilled.”
Landskroner said they are set to return to court Dec. 15 because Berle still wants to review the language of the notice and claim forms that will be sent out to customers.
It may be a few more months before the settlement goes back for final consideration by the judge. The date for that hearing has not been set, Landskroner said.
Attorneys announced this week a court-appointed independent monitor verified $67.5 million in refunds and credits that can be automatically issued to customers.
Notices informing customers that their refunds were verified will go out as soon as the Berle approves them, according to Landskroner.
The total amount of the refunds and credits is expected to increase, because customers will be able to make additional claims for refunds not included among the verified amounts, attorneys said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement celebrating the ruling that the refunds should begin going out next year through a process that “will be carried out with rigorous oversight from both the court and our independent monitor.”
He called the judge’s ruling an “important step forward in making our customers whole.”
DWP General Manager David Wright said earlier this week that the refunds should occur in summer 2017 and “will follow a specific calendar established by the court.”
Attorneys said this week DWP officials have been cooperative, with Tom Merriman, another attorney who represents the customers, saying the independent monitor was given “unrestricted access” to the utility’s computer servers.
— City News Service
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