Does LA DWP Billing Scandal Extend to Sweetheart Settlement With Over-Billing Attorney?

The LA Department of Water and Power's overbilling scandals are epic. They include an elderly couple who are Soviet emigrees and lived in fear because DWP issued a $50,000 bill to them. When they complained, they were told to check for a leaky toilet.

DWP is one of the least accountable agencies in the city. When it said it was cleaning up its act, it reached out to a Chicago attorney and cut a deal to allegedly pay ratepayers back.

Legal objections to the settlement filed by plaintiffs in 3 out of 4 ratepayer class actions against DWP for massive overbilling cast questions about whether the settlement is real, and why the this out-of-state attorney is being paid $13 million by ratepayers for his 87 days of work. The legal papers claim that the settlement is riddled with problems and wrongly allows DWP to solely determine who has been overcharged and how much they get back, when DWP cannot be trusted because it got it wrong in the first place.

Friday a LA Superior Court judge will decide whether the DWP settlement goes forward and whether the $13 million this attorney billed ratepayers for his less than three months of work is reasonable.

It would be a shame if one overbilling scandal would lead to another involving an overcharging attorney and a DWP that doesn't want a third party determining what it did wrong and who it owes how much.

If the Judge sides with the objectors, it's time for Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Attorney Mike Feuer to set the always arrogant and recalcitrant managers at DWP straight. LA ratepayers deserve an objective process to get their money back and real oversight of their renegade utility.