Businessman claims LADWP overcharging despite closure during COVID-19

“Right now businesses have zero revenue coming through the door. It is very frustrating,” said Ofir Anchel, Owner of Sun Spa Tanning in Sherman Oaks.

He said he was shocked when he got his Los Angeles Department of Water and Power bill since he’s been closed for the past two months.

“To my surprise, a month afterwards when I received my first bill it was close to $1,500 dollars,” said Anchel. 

He called LADWP and was told that he was still paying monthly service charges including a facility fee of more than $500.

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“If I have not used that consumption why am I paying for that? In any other regular time, I’m totally fine with that. I am consuming a lot of power, I understand that but at times when the city asked me to close my doors, why am I liable for that thousand dollars that I did not consume at all?” asked Anchel.

A representative from LADWP explained that commercial customers like Anchel are charged the facility fee based on allotted capacity:

“it is the highest amount of capacity they’ve required for us to provide over the past 12 months,” said Sharon Grove, Asst. GM of Customer Experience with LADWP. 

But Anchel says he had no choice to close his doors and is asking the utility for a credit. 

“I think right is right... I’m not asking for anything for free, but let me pay for what I’ve consumed especially during this time.”

LADWP customer service manager Sharon Grove says it’s out of their hands. 

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“We are a municipal utility which means that everybody pays their share of maintain the electric grid so it’s very hard for us to have a huge ability to give customers money because that just means we’re having other customers pay for it,” Grove said. 

Meanwhile, Anchel says he’s optimistic he’ll be allowed to reopen Sun Spa soon and said, until then he’ll continue to weather the storm:

“We have to try to anchor down and feel the pain,” said Anchel. 

Between rent and utilities, Anchel he’s losing thousands of dollars a month. LADWP says it does offer a payment plan giving customers up to 12 months to repay what is owed.