Maxwell X Lab
Buffalo, NY Water Bill Collections
- Partners: City of Buffalo
- Intervention: Redesigned notices for overdue water bills
- Method: RCT
- Outcomes: Increased payments
The Maxwell X Lab partnered with the City of Buffalo to test whether redesigned notices for overdue water bills would improve payments. The redesigned notices were simplified, salient, and encouraged prompt payments. Redesigned notices included disconnect notices and late notices.
For disconnect notices, accounts were randomized into business-as-usual or new notices every day from September 2018- April 2019. Accounts who received the new disconnect notice paid 22 percent more on average than control accounts. For some of the accounts, the disconnect notice was sent to the billing rather than the service address. Accounts that received the new notice to the billing address paid 35 percent more on average. For late notices, accounts were randomized into business as usual or new notices each day from September 2018-April 2019.
Accounts who received the new late notice paid 15 percent more than accounts that received the control notice. In total, accounts that received the new notices paid over $255,000 more than the regular notice group.