LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles city contractor in charge of launching a Department
of Water and Power (DWP) billing system has cost taxpayers “millions” of dollars in damages, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer alleges PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) misrepresented its level of experience in handling such a system, resulting in inaccurate and inflated bills being sent to numerous customers, and leaving others with no bills at all.

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The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court (PDF) alleges the company misled the DWP while bidding for the $70
million city contract by claiming it had a “100 percent success rate” in implementing the billing system and falsely touting its success with a similar system for the Cleveland Water Department.

“Instead of solving the problem of modernizing our roughly 40-year-old system, we allege the contract was so poorly performed, so pervaded with misrepresentations, that the results were disastrous,” said Feuer.

An attorney for PwC called the lawsuit “meritless” and dismissed it as a “transparent attempt by the DWP to shift
blame away” from the utility.

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The DWP “acknowledged in writing last year that PwC fulfilled each one of its contractual obligations and paid PwC in full,” said attorney Daniel J. Thomasch. “We will defend PwC’s excellent work and this case vigorously.”

Feuer contends that as a result of the company’s inability to handle the implementation, the DWP was unable to bill about 180,000 customers for a period as long as 17 months, costing the utility millions of dollars per month in revenue.

Following the launch of the DWP Customer and Billing System Dashboard in early 2014, the DWP saw more than $300 million in revenue shortfalls due to the reported glitches.

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