LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) has resumed shutting off electricity to at least some delinquent customers, according to reports Thursday.
Most disconnections were suspended following a City Council order in November in response to several issues with the DWP’s computerized billing system.
The utility is currently focused almost exclusively on collecting payments from commercial customers as the agency tries to tackle a reported $242 million backlog of unpaid bills, according to the Daily News.
Last month, the DWP posted on its website a message addressed to customers that acknowledged about 60,000 customers were still affected by “continuing problems” with the utility’s billing systems. It was unclear Thursday how much progress has been made since that message was posted.
Currently, only DWP business customers who are more than 90 days delinquent face the threat of a service shutoff, the Daily News reported. A DWP spokesperson told the Daily News the utility has cut off power to four businesses so far in April.
Jack Humphreyville, ratepayer advocate and president of the Neighborhood Council DWP Advocacy Committee, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the move appears to be justified.
“This only applies to commercial accounts, this is not residential accounts, so they’re not throwing people under the bus,” said Humphreyville. “I think the Department is pretty flexible there.”
Officials say they are manually checking each individual account before turning off power.