Los Angeles utility GM Edwards to step down, Wright made interim GM

DATE: August 1, 2016 9:33:54 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) General Manager Marcie Edwards will step down after more than two decades of service to the utility, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today. She retires as the first woman ever to lead LADWP in its 114-year history.

Concurrently, Mayor Garcetti named the Department’s current Chief Operating Officer, David Wright, a 27-year public utility veteran with a strong background in reliability, infrastructure development and customer service, to serve as Interim General Manager. 

During Edwards’ more than two years of service as LADWP’s General Manager, she guided and stabilized the utility through a critical moment in its history. As punishing drought conditions strained local water supplies, she led the push to cut LA water use by 20 percent in just one year.

At the same time, she effectively navigated LADWP through significant unforeseen issues with its billing system, and built widespread consensus for a sensible rate increase plan to enable critical future investments in sustainable water and power infrastructure, maintaining LADWP’s exemplary reliability track record and completely getting off coal. 

“When I took office, LADWP was facing difficult challenges — we needed a visionary leader to put our utility back on track, and that’s exactly what Marcie Edwards has done,” said Mayor Garcetti. “She has left an indelible mark on our city, and I am deeply grateful for her service.” 

Wright has been at DWP since early 2015 focusing on fixing the billing system and improving customer service after spending nearly a decade as General Manager of Riverside Public Utilities, earning consistent praise for his success in improving service to his customers. He 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.  The effort was so successful the City of Riverside later adopted the platform to handle all of its constituent services through their 311 call center. As one of his first tasks, Mayor Garcetti has asked Wright to develop and implement a “customer bill of rights” to provide specific service level guarantees for the utility’s ratepayers.

“LADWP exists to serve the people of Los Angeles — its leader should be someone who has a proven customer service track record,” said Mayor Garcetti. “David Wright has spent his career making public utilities work better for the people they serve, and I’m proud to appoint him as LADWP’s next Interim General Manager.”

Edwards will step down as General Manager on August 16, 2016.  She will assist with an orderly transition and serve as special advisor to the Mayor, LADWP Board and Mr. Wright, the interim General Manager, through Dec. 31. 

“It’s been a privilege to lead LADWP through both difficult challenges and transformative efforts to build a sustainable future for Los Angeles,” Edwards said. “I am grateful to Mayor Garcetti for the opportunity to serve my city.”

“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. It’s important that LADWP makes it easy to do business with us by working better and more efficiently for our customers than ever before.”