LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has nominated a new general manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
If confirmed by the City Council, LADWP Chief Operating Officer David Wright will become the utility's next general manager, replacing Marcie Edwards, who plans to retire.
Edwards replaced Ron Nichols as head of the largest public electric utility in the U.S. in January 2014.
Earlier this month, Garcetti announced that Edwards would retire, and that Wright would serve as her interim replacement.
Now, Mayor Garcetti is moving to make Wright's position permanent — a decision the LADWP Board of Commissioners supported on Tuesday with a unanimous vote to appoint him.
"LADWP's most important responsibility is to the people of our city — its leader needs to be someone who understands what it takes to provide the quality, reliable service that Angelenos deserve," Garcetti said in a statement. "As I talk with David and review his impressive track record, it's clear to me that he isn't just a proven customer service specialist — he's the ideal candidate to lead LADWP into its next era."
Wright has been at LADWP since early 2015 where he focused on fixing the billing system and improving customer service after spending nearly a decade as general manager of Riverside Public Utilities.
The billing system installed by Pricewaterhouse Cooper in 2013 has been riddled with problems and controversy.
Wright has also served as chief financial officer for the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Silver State Energy Association, overseeing a nearly $1 billion budget for the three water and electric organizations.
At Riverside Public Utilities, Wright led a complete overhaul of the customer service system, an upgrade that provided customer satisfaction levels that were at the top of the industry, according to the mayor's office. The effort was so successful that the City of Riverside later adopted the platform to handle all of its constituent services through its 311 call center.
As one of his first tasks, Garcetti has asked Wright to develop and implement a "customer bill of rights" to provide specific service level guarantees for the utility's ratepayers.
"I am deeply honored that Mayor Garcetti has chosen me to lead LADWP during such an important period for the utility," Wright said. "I will do everything I can to make LADWP a utility that not only focuses on infrastructure, reliability and sustainability, but that strongly focuses on improving service levels to our customers to significantly higher levels."