To ensure that the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners (board) can more effectively exercise oversight for the department's significant information technology projects, the board should establish a standing committee comprised of board members to oversee and critically evaluate the status of the department's various information technology projects. Given the limited tenure of board members and the potential for multiyear and high-cost information technology projects, the board president should consider appointing as many committee members as practicable in order to promote continuity of oversight.
As previously indicated in responses to the State Auditor, LADWP has been involved in multiple lawsuits from customers alleging damages resulting from the implementation of the customer billing system. In July of 2017, the Los Angeles Superior Court issued its order giving final approval to the settlement of several of those cases. The settlement calls for refunds and credits for all customer overpayments and for LADWP to meet a set of billing system and customer service performance metrics. To assure proper oversight of the litigation and remediation efforts, LADWP's entire board of commissioners has been regularly briefed, in closed session, on these issues. With the settlement now final, LADWP has begun the several year process - through 2020 - of implementing the settlement agreement, with regular updates of the board of commissioners planned as the implementation proceeds.
LADWP's focus on remediation of the customer billing system has meant that it continues to place other pending major technology systems projects on a slower track. LADWP staff is working with the entire board of commissioners to review these projects as they begin to move forward, with a particular focus on assuring appropriate and ongoing executive management review and board oversight of these projects. It is expected that the entire board of commissioners will continue to provide oversight of these projects given their critical nature.
LADWP is pleased to provide this update to the State Auditor.
The department states that it is working with the board to review and prioritize major technology systems. Further, that the focus of the review includes assuring appropriate and ongoing executive management review and board oversight of the technology systems projects. The current level of board involvement described is a positive step; we anticipate learning of the board creating a standing committee to exercise information technology project oversight.
Since the State Auditor's report, LADWP has been involved in multiple lawsuits alleging damages resulting from the implementation of the customer billing system. In several cases, a tentative settlement has been reached, and a hearing on the court's preliminary approval of that settlement is now set for 11/18/2016. The settlement calls both for refunds of all customer overpayments, and for LADWP to meet a set of performance metrics for the billing system, and include provision for a project management office, focused on information technology, to provide additional oversight. A copy of the Department's most recent filing with the Court will be provided for context. To assure appropriate oversight, LADWP's entire board of commissioners has been regularly updated and briefed on the status of the litigation, settlement negotiations, and the projects being undertaken by LADWP staff to remediate the billing system. Because litigation is pending, and to protect the attorney-client privilege and LADWP's attorneys' work product, these briefings have occurred in closed session.
Because LADWP has been focused on the remediation of the customer billing system, it has placed other pending major technology system changes on a slower track. In addition, the lengthy search for a Chief Information Technology Officer for LADWP has only now completed with Louis Carr, Jr., taking that role, effective this month.
If the court approves the settlement, LADWP will implement the settlement over the next several years. In addition, as CITO Carr becomes familiar with LADWP's operations, LADWP management will turns its attention, and that of Commissioners, to the need for developing appropriate oversight and management policies for technology system changes, including the appropriate level of Commissioner oversight.
LADWP is pleased to be able to update the State Auditor's office at its request.
The Board of Water and Power Commissioners at their May 11, 2015 meeting approved a motion to allow the Commission to create the sub-committee comprised of Board members to oversee and evaluate the status of the Department's various technology projects. However, the Board has presently determined to continue their consideration of information technology projects at the board level and not delegate that responsibility to a smaller committee.
The board has not created a subcommittee, but has the authority to do so. Due to the significant shortcomings in communication and oversight on the Customer Information System Project, we still believe a subcommittee would be in the best interest of the department and its stakeholders.
As per this recommendation and as was reported in the 60-day response, The Board of Water and Power Commissioners in their May 11, 2015 meeting approved a motion to allow the Commission to create the sub-committee comprised of Board members to oversee and evaluate the status of the Department's various technology projects.
This recommendation's status is partially implemented because the board has the authority to create a subcommittee but has not yet done so.
At its meeting on May 19, 2015 and per LADWPs letter to the State of California Auditor, dated 5/11/2015, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved a motion to allow the Commission to create the sub-committee if needed.
†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.
*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.