LOS ANGELES (CNS) - With thousands of customers still receiving  inaccurate utility bills following the rollout of a new billing system, the  Department of Water and Power should stop sending out water and power shutoff  notices, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander said today.

Since a $59 million overhaul of its billing system in September, DWP has  experienced software glitches and has had to estimate some customers' bill  amounts.

Customers who have called customer service to dispute what they see as  inaccurate fees for their water and electricity use have also experienced  unusually long wait times, sometimes up to 50 minutes.

A council motion submitted by Englander would ask DWP to stop issuing  disconnection notices while utility officials work to smooth out billing system  problems. The motion will be considered at an upcoming City Council meeting.  

``The fear of disconnection from vital utilities, particularly during  the holiday season, is unfair to those who are essentially unable to resolve  these problems due to inadequacies within the DWP's new billing and customer  service system,'' Englander said.

The councilman noted he is still getting ``an unprecedented level'' of  complaints from ``ratepayers who are unable to resolve billing conflicts or  inaccuracies.''

On Wednesday, DWP officials told council members at the Energy and  Environment Committee they are working to resolve the problems in their billing  system.