The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recently replaced its 39-year old Customer Information System on Sept. 2 and is currently working to iron out some of the bugs in the new system.
As tech crews work to solve problems with the system, the LADWP is asking its customers to be patient.
The new CIS platform touches nearly every aspect of utility operations, including customer service, meter reading and billing. “It is the heart of our customer service system and used during each customer interaction by phone or online. Over time, this system will help us significantly improve the customer experience.”
According to the LADWP, any time an information system of this size and scope is replaced, issues will arise and need to be addressed within the first one to three billing cycles. LADWP is currently near the beginning of the second billing cycle.
To date, approximately 3-5 percent of LADWP’s customers have experienced delayed bills and late notices, and incorrectly estimated bills, which have led to periods of “excessively long and unacceptable hold times when customers have called to report a problem or ask routine questions about their account,” the press release states.
In addition, the LADWP said some commercial and residential solar customers and large multi-facility customers have experienced problems with their bills. “While these problems have affected a relatively small percentage of our customers, they have resulted in higher than normal call volumes and these calls have taken longer to resolve than is typically the case, resulting in longer than acceptable hold times for other customers who are trying to get through to an operator,” the LADWP said.
Next week, the department will begin offering customers a Virtual Hold feature, which will provide customers the option of receiving a call-back, rather than waiting on hold. The department is also accelerating efforts to reduce the number of customers receiving inaccurate, late or delinquent notices.
“As the system stabilizes over time, we expect the number of issues and customers affected by them to be reduced significantly and ultimately eliminated,” the press release states. “For those customers who have experienced exceptionally long hold times, or who have received an incorrect bill, we offer our sincere apologies.”
Various Ways to Contact LADWP to Get Questions Answered
The following information has been provided by LADWP as ways customers can get in touch with the utility for more information.
Use phone self-serve options: The 1-800-DIAL DWP phone system provides callers with a variety of self-serve options, including the ability to report outages, make payments, obtain bill-pay extensions, and other services, all without the need to speak to a customer service representative.
Use virtual hold: Those who need to speak to a Customer Service Representative don’t have to wait on hold. LADWP is currently testing virtual hold technology and plans to implement it next week to reduce hold times. Virtual hold allows customers to receive a callback at a set time instead of waiting on the line for a representative.
Email: Email account inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org . Concerns will be responded to by a representative as quickly as possible and in most cases, within one business day.
Call during off-peak hours: If possible, call on Saturdays and Sundays between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. especially Sundays, as call volumes are typically much lower on the weekends.
Go online: Use the LADWP.com website to report outages, view the status of existing outages, view account balances and make payments, among other services, without speaking to a representative.