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Headquartered in Washington, DC, Washington Gas Light Company delivers natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout Washington, DC and the surrounding region.

Improving the Customer Experience 

With a focus on customer satisfaction, Washington Gas wanted to improve their electronic payment services to provide their customers the utmost in convenience while keeping costs down. The utility faced a number of limitations with its legacy billing and customer care system. On occasion, payments made by customers before their cut-off date arrived late — by which time the utility had disconnected them. In these cases, customers had their service disrupted for non-payment and therefore Washington Gas had to devote resources to turn service back on once payment was received. 

At the same time, with electronic payments rising dramatically — from 38% of their total payment volume in 2007 to 46% in 2009 — Washington Gas needed a way to manage its electronic payments more efficiently and safeguard customer information, while preserving a customer’s choice to pay with ACH, bill pay or credit card.

A Last Minute Payment Option 

Washington Gas turned to ACI Bill Payment Solutions™ to meet the challenge for a better electronic payment solution that captured and posted last-minute payments. The utility adopted ACI fee-based payments to reduce the number of electronic payments arriving after the cut-off date. ACI fee-based payments give Washington Gas customers an easy way to make one-time payments from credit and debit cards via the web or IVR. It’s a virtually zero-cost and worry-free payment option that provides added convenience and control. Washington Gas also benefits from real-time account validation to reduce posting errors, real-time payment soft-posting and on-demand payment reporting, tracking and management via ACI’s client console. By outsourcing their specialized electronic payment needs, Washington Gas can ensure compliance with all payment industry rules and regulations, including PCI and FFIEC, without incurring an additional investment.

To handle a growing and diverse stream of electronic payments, Washington Gas turned to ACI eLockbox. This service allows the utility a way to consolidate and receive electronic payments coming from any source, including every online banking site, walk-in location and their user interfaces. With ACI eLockbox, Washington Gas is able to detect errors before payments are sent and handle exceptions in one place, eliminating more of the costs that arise from invalid payment information and overdrawn funds.

Real-Time Posting Reduces Costly Shut-offs

ACI fee-based payments enable Washington Gas to efficiently and effectively manage their last-minute electronic payments. Because payments have already been validated, payment status can be updated in real time to avoid service disruptions. The result: fewer disconnections. And customers appreciate the convenience of being able to make late payments and choose the method that’s easiest for them.

ACI eLockbox has worked flawlessly, combining hundreds of electronic sources into a single posting file and a single deposit. Through ACI eLockbox, Washington Gas concentrates its credit card and debit card payments, agent-assisted payments and certain financial institution payments, which account for 43,000 transactions per month.

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