2024 Utility Staffing Survey Results – Part I

For the past two months, I’ve been conducting the 2024 Utility Staffing Survey. This survey has become a biennial survey, alternating years with the Utility Fee Survey. The initial Utility Staffing Survey was in 2016, followed by additional surveys in 2018, 2020, and 2022. For sake of comparison, here are the results from previous Utility Staffing Surveys.

This is the first of two Utility Information Pipeline issues publishing the results of the 2024 Utility Staffing Survey. Today, we’ll examine demographics of the survey respondents, staffing levels, and factors outside the control of the utilities. In two weeks, we’ll review staffing levels and practices each utility can control, such as meter reading, bill printing, payment processing, and service orders.

Demographics of survey respondents

122 utilities representing 21 states, ranging in size from 20 to 137,661 active accounts participated in the survey. Click on any of the links below to see charts of the various demographic data for the survey respondents:

Responses by State

Size of Participating Utilities

Size of Participating Utilities Under 20,000 Accounts

Types of Utilities Responding

Services Provided by Responding Utilities

Positions of Individuals Completing Survey

Annual accounts billed per office employee

To arrive at an accurate index to compare utilities of differing sizes and billing frequencies, I derived a value for the number of accounts billed annually per office employee. This formula multiplies the number of active accounts by the number of times each account is billed per year (12 for monthly billing, 6 for bi-monthly billing, 4 for quarterly billing) then divides that product by the total number of office employees. The higher the result, the more efficient the office is considered to be.

The results ranged from 84 to 86,944 as represented by the graph below: (clicking on any of the graphs will open a larger image in a new window).

Annual Accounts Billed per Office Employee 2024

If you would like to calculate your utility’s Annual Accounts Billed per Office Employee value to see how you compare, I’ve created an online calculator to determine this value. Please click here to calculate your utility’s value.

Annual customer turnover

As with past surveys, I wondered if the turnover in customers would be a factor in how efficiently offices are staffed, so the survey asked how many applications for service (including routine move in/move outs and new construction) each utility processes per year.

Some utilities bill only property owners, and those will have a much lower turnover rate than utilities that bill tenants.

Not surprisingly, as in previous Utility Staffing Surveys, the annual turnover rates ranged widely, from .01% to 100.00%, and appear to have no correlation to staffing levels.

Annual Accounts Billed per Office Employee with Account Turnover Rate 2024

Major services billed

The final variable I examined for this issue was major services billed (water, sewer, electric, and natural gas) looking for a correlation between the number of services billed and office staffing. I only considered the major services, because other services, such as garbage, stormwater, or area lights, generally are billed as flat-rate services and are not nearly as labor-intensive to bill.

As was the case in prior surveys, utilities billing multiple metered services require more staff than those billing for only a single metered service. This is confirmed in this year’s Utility Staffing Survey with 20 of the 21 most efficient offices, including the top three, billing for only one metered service (one only bills for sewer), as shown below:

Annual Accounts Billed per Office Employee by Major Services Billed 2024

Next blog post

In two weeks, the next blog post will analyze staffing levels and labor-saving practices each utility can control, such as meter reading, bill printing, payment processing, and service orders.

Annotated graphs

If your utility participated in the survey and you would like a copy of the graphs with your utility annotated, please let me know.

Is your office adequately staffed?

If you think your utility is understaffed or could operate more efficiently, please give me a call at 919-673-4050 or email me at gary@utilityinformationpipeline.com to learn how a business review could help you determine this.

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© 2024 Gary Sanders


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