I’ve reached another milestone! This issue of the Utility Information Pipeline marks the 300th issue, dating back to January, 2011.
In late 2010, while driving to a conference with a co-worker, I tossed out an idea I’d been kicking around to get his reaction to my idea. The idea, of course, was for a newsletter related to utility billing topics. My co-worker was very supportive of the idea, encouraged me to do it, and out of that conversation grew this newsletter. When I first started, I had no idea how long it would run, but over 12 years and 300 issues later, I’m still writing a newsletter every other week. Sometimes just the day before it’s published!
That first issue was mailed to customers and people who had attended my presentation at recent trade shows offering them the opportunity to subscribe. From that initial email, 86 people subscribed and a fair number of them continue to this day. If you’ve been with me since the early days or if you are a relatively new subscriber, thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say.
I’m always looking for ideas to write about, so if you have an idea, question, or suggestion, please feel free to email me.
Utility Fee and Staffing Surveys
Both the Utility Fee Survey and Utility Staffing Survey have become mainstays of this newsletter over the years. The results issues for the 2023 Utility Fee Survey have just been completed and today I’m going to look at some trends over the course of five Utility Fee Surveys from 2015 through 2023.
Charging the cut-off fee to all accounts
When I present my How to Increase Revenues without Raising Rates presentation, there are two takeaways I always stress to the participants. The first is to charge the cut-off fee to all accounts when it leaves the office. The graph below represents the trend over the past five Utility Fee Surveys (clicking any of the graphs will open a larger image in a new window):
I’m pleased to see that this year’s results are the highest of any of the previous Utility Fee Surveys, but I’d still like to see it be even higher!
The second takeaway is to charge an application fee. Here is the trend of utilities charging an application fee over the course of the past five Utility Fee Surveys:
Again, I’m pleased to see that this year is the highest of the past five surveys.
Credit cards and convenience fees
Another trend I follow is credit cards and convenience fees. Utilities accepting credit cards has become nearly universal, with 2023 only slightly lower than 2021:
Of the utilities that accept credit cards, this year the percentage of utilities charging a convenience fee reversed the trend of charging a fee for credit card payments:
Of the utilities that do charge a convenience fee, the trend of having a third-party assess the convenience fee continued again this year:
Are you following these trends?
If your utility isn’t taking advantage of any of these trends, please call me at 919-673-4050 or e-mail me at email@example.com to find out how a business review could help your utility.
© 2023 Gary Sanders