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Monday, November 30, 2009

LA DWP Extra Capacity Fee - Do you see this on your bill?

First, a question...

If you are a customer of the LA DWP, are you seeing and "Extra Capacity" fee listed under the solid waste portion of your bill, even if you only have one of each of the bins - trash (black), recycle (blue) and green (garden)? I am interested in hearing if the fee mentioned below has been appearing on your bills or if this is only an isolated incident.

Now, the story...

We are currently engaged in a rather frustrating go-round with the LA DWP regarding an Extra Capacity Fee on our water/electric/sewer/trash bill. Back when we first moved in, we did indeed have 2 green garden bins, as the property produces a lot of garden waste. Over the years we have started composting more and more and when the price went up for the "extra capacity" bin, we turned it into the DWP.

About 6 months ago, I noticed that the fee had re-appeared on our bills. Calling the LA DWP, they stated that one of their "inspectors" had noticed 2 green bins in front of our house and therefore re-instated the extra capacity fee. Fine and good, expect the that second green bin was from our neighbor, which we had borrowed for a particularly large leaf cleanup.

The operator at the DWP instructed us that they would have to send an inspector out to confirm that we only had the one green bin and it could take up to 4 months to see the change in our bill. This happens as the LA DWP only bills every 2 months. So we waited. Sure enough the next bill still had the charge, so we called again. The operator told us that the inspector had not yet been sent out, so the bill still contained the fee.

Here we are now 6 months later and we are still paying an extra capacity fee for no extra service. Tomorrow will bring another phone call to the LA DWP and we will attempt to finally get this settled.

Frustrating, to say the least.


At 3:36 PM, Anonymous mercutiom said...

Ugh, that sucks. What is it with Utility companies? My gas co. still doesn't accept credit/debit cards. They think because they have a monopoly they have a right, nay a requirement, to be as unhelpful as possible.

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Douglas E Welch said...

Well, you answered the question when you used the "monopoly" world. Never is a good idea to give people NO choice. Tends to be abused in many forms.

That said, with the state of the budget (and perhaps a tiny bit of big gov paranoia) I wondered if this fee simply got "turned on" for everyone. It could have been a glitch in the system, though, so my main goal is to get it cleared up and save a few bucks each month.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Douglas E Welch said...

Oh, also, it is a great reminder to go through your bills, line by line, every so often, just to make sure things don't creep in there. With "cramming" and "bundling" and a host of other methods, unscrupulous 3rd parties can add things to your bill in a number of ways.

I usually remember my average bill from month to month, so when I see a marked change in the total, I always did in and figure out what caused the jump. This month, it was an ill-advised call to directory assistance on one of our cell phones. $1.99! Ouch.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Monte Means said...

I found your blog by googling "LADWP extra capacity." I too had this fee added to my bill for no apparent reason back in September of 2008. I am still trying to get it resolved. At least ten calls to LADWP, at least five voicemails left with a billing supervisor (none of those messages have ever been returned). I am now resorting to writing to my city council person, the mayor's office, the Times, and I also just filed a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission. I am at my wits' end!

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous donna littlejohn said...

I don't know if you've resolved this as this original post goes back a few months, but I've been battling the same thing with the DWP since September 2008 as well. I'm a reporter for the Daily Breeze and am posting something on it later today on our Pipeline blog -- http://www.insidesocal.com/southbay/


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