I was surprised to read in the Sept. 13 Metro article “Utility is facing a call logjam” about the long wait times customers are experiencing with Washington Gas’s call center. The company placed much of the blame on the contractor running the call center. A question left unanswered in the article was why the utility is outsourcing such an important function. This is especially puzzling because, as a regulated company, Washington Gas should be entitled to recover reasonable costs through the rates charged to its customers, including the cost of in-house call center personnel who would be more familiar with the utility’s system and operations, and more responsive to customer calls.

Call-center contractors often handle multiple clients and are not fully dedicated to Washington Gas. This enables them to spread their costs over multiple clients, presumably resulting in lower costs compared with an in-house call center. But the trade-off is lack of a dedicated staff and lack of responsiveness, as shown by Washington Gas’s situation.

Perhaps it would be worth spending some more money for an in-house call center.

Bob BennaPotomac