If you read the last Utility Information Pipeline, you know it included a poll asking how many days after cut-off you wait before closing accounts that haven’t paid. Based on the results of that poll, it was clear the choices way underestimated how long most utilities waited. As a result, I sent an e-mail last week with a revised poll that increased the maximum choice from 10 days or more to 21 days or more.

Revised poll results

Thank you to those of you who participated in the revised poll. The new poll had more than twice as many responses as the first version. If you missed it, you can still participate in the poll by clicking here.

Here are the results of the revised poll (clicking on the chart will open a larger image in a new window): RevisedPollResults

Still surprised

I’m very surprised that two-thirds of the responses wait three weeks (or more) to finalize an account that is off for non-payment and hasn’t paid. Understandably, some utilities have policies where there always has to be an active account receiving a bill – even if the property is vacant. For these utilities, and those where only property owners are billed, accounts are never closed until the property is sold.

Why wait?

For utilities without such a policy or that bill tenants, why wait so long? By final billing the account, you are able to apply the customer’s deposit and offset any potential bad debt. The sooner you do so, the sooner the customer’s deposit becomes an asset for you, rather than a liability. If you represent one of the utilities responding with 21 days or more, I would be interested in hearing why you wait that long. Have you seen cases where customers show up more than three weeks after being cut off and finally pay? Or is this just something that isn’t a priority? Please feel free to send me an e-mail or comment on this post to explain why you don’t close cut-off accounts sooner.

Is it time to review your cut-off policy?

Has it been a while since you’ve reviewed your cut-off policy? Please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com to learn more about how a business review could assist with reviewing your policies and procedures.

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© 2014 Gary Sanders