Based on a question from a reader of my blog, the 2021 Utility Fee Survey included two additional questions which were not included in previous fee surveys:

  • On average, what percentage of your accounts are charged a Late Fee or Penalty each billing cycle?
  • On average, what percentage of your customer base do you disconnect for non-payment each billing cycle?

Creature of habit

Because I’m a creature of habit, the 2021 Utility Fee Survey results followed the format of previous years, which means it didn’t include the additional data about percentages of accounts that are late or disconnected for non-payment.

To make amends, this blog post will examine the responses to those two questions.

Late Fee or Penalty percentages

For both questions, 121 of the 142 survey respondents provided a response. For the late fee or penalty questions, those values ranged from less than one percent to 50%, as shown in the graph below (clicking of any of the graphs will open a larger image in a new window):

Responses with a range of percentages are reported as the average of the high and low response. For example, a response of “15-20%” is reported as 17.5%. Similarly, responses of “less than X%” are reported as X%.

Disconnected for non-payment percentages

In response to the question regarding percentage of accounts disconnected for non-payment, the responses ranged from .0015% to 30%, as depicted here:

The first six values are too small to register on the graph. Those values are 0.0015%, 0.004%, 0.01%, 0.03%, 0.05%, and 0.05%.

Acceptable ranges

Way back in 2013, I wrote a blog post about acceptable ranges of accounts charged a late fee or cut-off for non-payment (weren’t my graphs hideous way back then?).

That post used the following ranges for what are acceptable percentages of customers who are late or cut off for non-payment:

Accounts assessed a late fee:

  • < 15% – Excellent
  • 15-25% – Normal range
  • > 25% – Room for improvement

Accounts cut off for non-payment:

  • < 2% – Excellent
  • 2-3% – Normal range
  • > 3% – Room for improvement

2021 Utility Fee Survey acceptable ranges

Based on those ranges, the responses from the 2021 Utility Fee Survey fell in the following categories:

Accounts assessed a late fee:

  • Excellent – 54 (44.6%)
  • Normal – 55 (45.5%)
  • Room for Improvement – 12 (9.9%)

Accounts cut off for non-payment:

  • Excellent – 61 (50.4%)
  • Normal – 30 (24.8%)
  • Room for Improvement – 30 (24.8%)