LOS ANGELES (CBS) — As the City Council continues to negotiate over what comes next for the city’s biggest utility firm, there’s one thing that is no longer up for debate: the Department of Water & Power is among the most-hated companies in the U.S.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index ranks the LADWP the 13th-worst firm when it comes to consumer satisfaction — a list that includes some of the nation’s biggest airlines, banks, and power and telecom companies.

Among the biggest reasons for the poor showing: a corruption trial, an outdated billing system, and the ongoing fight over proposed rate hikes.

Back in April, Councilman Dennis Zine said an estimated 30,000 customers may have been over-billed after a report on alleged practices that may have netted the DWP hundreds of thousands of dollars in late fees.

Despite all the bad PR, the LADWP wants to raise electric and water rates in advance of a new “green” energy initiative laid out by the city.

If the City Council approves the rate hikes, customers could end up paying up to 16 percent more for water and power over the next three years.

The LADWP is joined on the list by some other unpopular utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric (#13), the Long Island Power Authority (#12) and Pepco (#1).

Comments (24)
  1. DAX says:

    Because they don’t give you a jar of Vaseline with your bill.

  2. rob says:

    They should be first ion this list, any public service for the city should not be drinking and smoking pot behind the wheel of any car, let alone a public utility vehicle, these guys are D Bags, lazy Union workers…people who have no care about the city of LA, DWP sucks and should be the first on the hated list, they suck! Down with the DWP!

    F the union.

  3. TIM says:

    DWP only hires people with 1st grade educations. That way they are too stupid to point out corruption.

  4. LT says:

    DWP and their mystery sanitation fees along with Villaregosa’s trash fees.
    Corrupt is an understatement.

  5. Jeff says:

    LADWP is run by corrupt, unionized, lazy, good for nothing, morons, who can’t be fired. All these guys care about are their fat pensions and when their next coffee break is coming up. The citizens are being gouged by this utility because of the incompetence of its employees.

  6. alan hart says:

    Good story. Coincidentally delivered on the same day I paid my utility bill. The dirt bags charged me $112.00 for picking up my trash. Do I have an option of hiring a private firm to pick up my trash? I doubt it.

  7. Jess says:

    Their fees are ridiculous! I don’t complain much but LADWP is the only bill I have issues with. I use very little power in my apartment – no a/c, low lighting (if being used at all) and the tv occasionally. I’m glad to see my feelings and outrage with LADWP are somewhat redeemed by this article.

    1. TIM says:

      your feelings of outrage are common. It is a rage against corrupt government not just DWP. Although DWP is the most corrupt organization in the United States.

  8. SNMFX says:

    They are for no reason, the MOST EXPENSIVE utility company in the USA. Everything is artificially inflated in California to pay for all the corruption in the California Government. Utilities are the highest in the nation, grocery prices are the highest in the nation, gas prices are the highest in the nation, car registration is the highest in the nation, and local and state taxes are robbing California citizens blind! California is the most corrupt state in the USA.

    1. Joe Smith says:

      Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is unique in it’s ability to ruin peoples’ lives. Besides providing utilities at an outrageous rate, which they justify with some non-sense mathematics, these thugs are used by Los Angeles to collect ridiculously high fees for trash and sewer. They answer to no-one. It is no wonder they have to hide behind bullet proof glass.

  9. Mike says:

    Corrupt from top to bottom. City officials would not allow for an outside third party audit of DWP since so much dirt would be uncovered. City officials are part of the dirt as well.

  10. Daniel Mory says:

    My top 5 low-life’s

    AT&T, BofA, LADWP, Blue Shield/Cross, Time Warner

  11. Harvey Lutske says:

    The ignorance in so many of these statements is incredible. Does DWP make mistakes? Does it have bad apples? Is its primary union, the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, too strong? Does it have employees who are less than perfect? Sure. Show me a company that doesn’t But.DWP also follows legal mandates set by others: the federal gov’t, by the state legislature, by the L.A. City Council. DWP collects bills for other city agencies and transfers the money to them. DWP’s rates are cheaper than So. Calif. Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. DWP is FAR from perfect, but so many of these comments are from people who have ZERO IDEA of how it actually operates.

    1. Jose says:

      Harvey you are a fool Dwp is the highest and thats the truth you can’t handle the truth

      1. TIM says:

        Harvey, have you ever attended college?

    2. Brox says:

      I agree with harvey. All it takes is selective media coverage and a poorly run customer service to convince people. Atleast LADWP saves rate payer money by not hiring a proper PR firm.

      other people here make personal attacks because they’ve run out of valid arguements. They’d know that if they took debate in college 😉

  12. Jazz says:

    Daniel, Time Warner should have been number one.

    Harvey, I agree with you. These people need to live back east for a while where the utilies are privately owned. Then they will see just how awful it can be.

    Approximately 7 years ago the power was out for almost 2 weeks in parts of Maryland. Those people were SOL for all the food that they lost. Insurance wouldn’t cover it because it was due to nature. (they can’t say act of God anymore).

  13. ArmyStud says:

    I dealt with these people for the 1st time last week in 4yrs about my boss bil. that I pay… they sent me a late notice etc and a current bill I expalin to them that I never got the bill.. that if you see his account he has never been late… they would not even waive the late fee.. I was shocked.. they explain that I should deal with the post office about the missing bill..

  14. Paula Montgomery says:

    The DWP for years have over charged me, I complain for years to everybody but nothing is done. I have a limited income, their only help only pays so much, and it does not cover the charges that they charge me. Why is there no one doing anything about these people. I just got out the hospital, I had surgery, I am still recovering. Have doctors, nurse’s, social workers, everybody to prove this. They are trying to cut me off. I pay $150.00 a month out of my little income, I have health problems that need to be attended to and can’t because I am paying this money. THEY ARE STILL TRYING TO CUT ME OFF. I have brought my bill down from $1065.00 to $653.00 and I just received a notice of cut off in a couple of days. How can they do that? These dirty, greedy company has over charged me for years and now they are making my life horrible for back bills that I did not make. Have proof of the over changing bills that they have sent me. I have seen so much hatred for this company (for good reason) and not one is doing anything about it. How can they have this much power, are they playing God. If they cut off my power in a few days (in a all electric apartment) I may not make it. How can any one company have that much power. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!!!!!!!!! I CAN NOT PAY ANY MORE MONEY, I JUST DON’T HAVE IT..WHAT CAN I DO!!!!!!

  15. samantha whitmore says:

    Ok so not quite sure what most of these people are complaining about. Just pay your bills on time and u wouldn’t have these problems. Alos get yourselves informed! Dwp charges about 0.14 p kwh and 3.77 p/hcf, I read my own meter just in case, and pay yourbill on time (I get my bill by mail and E-mail). That lady with $653 bill wth?? Really? $150 p month and u were in the hole $1600??? U got to thank God or DWP for not turning off ur services till now. I know ur sick and all but u need to start making ur kids give u some money! My respect goes to the idiots that have to climb those electrical poles…If I were in their shoes I’d want to take a shot of something too…
    Fyi, Did some research…

    The doubling and tripling of private utility company electricity rates in California is a warning of what may happen if San Fernando Valley residents vote to secede from the city of Los Angeles.

    “Few realize that the City Council of Los Angeles has the legal authority to raise Department of Water and Power electricity rates for the Valley if it secedes based on Los Angeles City Charter section 676 subd. (3), which states: “The [electric] rates inside the City may be less, but not greater, than the rates outside the City for the same or similar uses.”-LA Times 1/21/11

    “In fact, the DWP’s power rates are lower than those charged by Southern California Edison (20% to 30% lower, in fact), not to mention Pacific Gas & Electric or the municipal utilities for San Diego, Pasadena, Burbank or Glendale. The DWP’s rates are artificial, all right; they are artificially low.” LA Times 3/28/11

    The DWP today charges 13.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, meaning the average residential user pays about $56 a month

  16. lala63 says:

    Electricity is cheap in L.A. compared to in Texas. Okay, I’ll give them that. But God help you if you have to contact customer service for any reason at LADWP.. I just got a closing bill (I moved and transferred service to a new apt). I said to the customer service person, who sounded groggy as if I had awakened her from a coma, “Hi. I have a closing bill and I wanted to pay it over the phone. Can I do that?” Okay, you’d have thought that I had just asked her to solve the Fredholm theory of integral equations. Honestly. I told her that I had the statement in from of me. I asked if she needed the account number, or the service address, or the “CAN” number. She remained dumbfounded and then grumbled for me to hold (which I did for a good 10 minutes). I eventually just hung up. I know one thing also from past experiences: they need to get a new group of IT people to set up their computers better. Why take someone out of the system (when they still have a CAN) before they pay their closing bill? It makes NO sense and seems to confuse their own employees. I wish I could get the General Managers email address. These would be SIMPLE things to fix. They should start by firing employees like the one I got on the phone today, and hire helpful people who can stay awake on the job. There are many unemployed people who would be happy to do the job. It said that the conversation was being recorded today – If only they would LISTEN they would hear how HORRIBLE their customer service people are.

  17. Joe Smith says:

    The L.A. Department of Water and Power is an organization of white-collar criminals, that happens to also provide utilities. They can do anything they want, and do not have to answer to anybody. We just keep paying them for utilities, plus a little extra for “protection”. They are Mayor Villaraigosa’s HENCHMEN!!!

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