HANCOCK PARK (CBSLA.com) — A Hancock Park homeowner said he was expecting a $7,000 refund from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for overpayment.

Randy Esada told CBS2’s Randy Paige that when he inquired about a refund, he was not only told he wasn’t due a refund, he was told he owed.

And owed a lot.

It’s a story that is Only On 2.

Esada received a bill for more than $18,000.

The homeowner said when he first moved into the residence five years ago, he set up an automatic payment plan of $1,300 every two months.

He said it was always enough to cover his power and water bill and then some.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said, holding the new bill.

Paige asked Esada if there is any way that the bill could be accurate, based on his past power consumption.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

Esada was also told his water bill was an additional $,2,600, and this was after he switched his lawn to artificial turf.

“This is a blatant overcharge on my power and water bill,” Esada said.

When he challenged the amount of both bills, Esada said he was told to pay it or his power and water would be shut off.

“This sent shock waves through our household,” Esada said.

“This is almost certainly inaccurate,” attorney Tim Blood said.

He has filed a class-action suit against the utility. He says it knowingly told people the higher bills are due to a leak or that they left a light on.

“And they know this is patently false,” Blood says. “It’s not what happened to these folks.” Esada is not part of the class action.

The LADWP has declined Paige’s request for an on-camera interview.

Instead, it provided the following statement:

“The problem some of our customers experienced with the billing system is the subject of litigation … as such we cannot comment on specifics of those cases or on specific customer complaints. We continue to encourage our customers to contact us directly if they have any concerns with their bill.”

Esada said he has complained and is waiting for answers.

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