The DWP Tax

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No, this isn’t a piece about taxes on our utility bills. Or, at least, not explicit taxes.

Instead, I’m writing today about the implicit tax imposed on LA property owners by DWP’s horrific customer service.

First, some context: When you buy and renovate an apartment building, you need to:

  • Switch the master utilities into your name
  • Then, when the tenants move out, switch each individual unit’s utilities to your name
  • Then, once renovations are complete and the units are rented, have the tenants switch the units to their names

Each of the above necessitates multiple calls to DWP. Until a few months ago, hold times for these calls were a ridiculous but still manageable 60 minutes or so.

Now, since the installation of a new phone system (presumably purchased, used, from some backwater in Botswana), wait times have swelled to 120+ minutes. And, about half the time, you get through the 120 minutes, only to be hung up on.

The net result, in our office, is that my assistant spends her entire day on hold with DWP.

In any non-monopoly business, the market severely punishes any company that treats customers this way. But DWP is a monopoly. So, the only way things are going to improve is for the politicians who oversee DWP to demand better. Know anyone?

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