Port Angeles to increase hours for utility payments

PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles today expanded customer service hours for utility payments made in person.

The temporary move is intended to reduce the inconvenience caused by a reported data breach in July.

Online card payments were suspended after the city received multiple reports from customers who said their credit and debit card information had been compromised last July 24 and July 25.

In-person payments can now be made at City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Prior to today, customer service hours were 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

City officials said the expanded hours will be in place for about 90 days.

“The city has been working diligently with a new vendor to restore the ability to accept card payments online and over the phone,” a city announcement said.

“We anticipate those services will be available by the end of January.”

The city received 20 initial reports from online-paying customers who said their cards might have been hacked and fraudulent purchases made.

In addition to halting online payments after the reported data breach, the city stopped accepting credit card numbers written on invoices or read over the phone.

Those who pay for utilities or other city services with credit or debit cards must do so in person at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.

Soon after the reported data breach, the city hired Navigant Consulting Inc., a computer forensics accounting and investigations firm.

The Washington, D.C.-based consultant will determine whether a data breach occurred and, if so, the extent of the breach, City Manager Dan McKeen has said.

McKeen on Thursday said he expected to hear an update on the investigation early next week.

Navigant consultants earn between $260 and $360 per hour and directors earn between $440 and $580 per hour, according to the contract.

An insurance policy has capped the city’s expense of the investigation at $25,000, McKeen has said.

In addition to making cash, check or card payments at City Hall, customers can mail checks, leave checks in the drop box outside of City Hall or set up an automatic bill pay through their bank.

“The city greatly apologizes for the inconvenience this situation has caused our customers,” the city announcement said.

“We encourage anyone with questions or concerns to continue to reach out to us.”

Questions or concerns can be directed to Nicole Blank in the city’s Finance Department at 360-417-4600 or by email at finance@cityofpa.us.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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