Attorney General Lockyer Files Multi-Million Dollar Claim for Energy Overcharges Against Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Friday, March 22, 2002
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(LOS ANGELES) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today filed a multi-million dollar claim against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), accusing the municipal utility of systematically over-billing state government for electricity for over 10 years.

"For more than a decade LA DWP knowingly overcharged the State of California in monthly electricity bills," Lockyer said. "We want the utility to refund the money and pay penalties for taking unjust advantage of government ratepayers."

The claim, filed with the City of Los Angeles, alleges that since at least June 30, 1990 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has over-billed state governmental entities by more than $60 million by knowingly inflating monthly electric bills with excessive, unauthorized special fees. Added to the calculation of monthly electricity bills, the fees have been used to pay for the construction of the municipal utility's power plants and distribution facilities. The claim seeks recovery of treble damages plus penalties for each false billing of the government.

Under state law, the Legislature must specifically authorize public entities like the municipal utility to collect special assessments from governmental customers. According to the claim, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has been imposing fees far in excess of those authorized by law.

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