The landmark class action settlement reached with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) on behalf of overbilled customers has now grown to nearly $50,000,000.
Consumer rights attorney Jack Landskroner, of Landskroner Grieco Merriman, said today: "Our efforts, have already identified an additional $5,400,000 due back to customers who were overbilled since the settlement with LADWP was conditionally approved by the Court on a preliminary basis in December 2015."
Customers were overbilled as a result of the failed installation of a new customer billing software in September, 2013. Initial conservative estimates only valued the settlement at approximately $44,000,000.
"In working with our legal team, the court-appointed monitor is conducting an exhaustive review of every possible defect in LADWP's billing system," said Landskroner. "As our efforts continue, we expect the total amount owed to customers will continue to rise."
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle appointed utility billing expert Paul Bender to independently monitor the settlement. Bender's team of analysts is verifying the data which will be used to determine how much each customer was overbilled. In an affidavit filed with the Court last month, Bender reported that LADWP had given his team "unrestricted access to necessary data, information and personnel."
"Bender's team is vetting every possible defect in the billing system and the Department has been cooperating," said Landskroner. "Our commitment is to make sure every consumer gets back every penny they are owed, so we appreciate the monitor's methodical approach and careful analysis. The monitor is doing a tremendous job in his role for LADWP customers."
A hearing to finalize the Court's conditional preliminary approval of the settlement is scheduled for November 18, 2016. Landskroner says the ultimate size of the settlement will not be known until the review of overbilled amounts is completed and all consumers have had the opportunity to make claims for any special damages due under the agreement.