Massachusetts Utility Deposit Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
January 30, 2023
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a Massachusetts Utility Deposit bond.
At a Glance:
- Average Cost: Between 2% to 15% of the bond amount per year based on the applicant’s credit
- Bond Amount: Determined on a case-by-case basis
- Who Needs it: Certain businesses seeking to activate utility services in Massachusetts
- Purpose: To ensure utility companies receive compensation for financial harm if the consumer fails to pay their utility bills
- Who Requires Utility Deposit Bonds in Massachusetts: Utility companies that provide services to the general public
Utility companies in Massachusetts often require customers expected to generate large monthly bills to pay a security deposit before initiating service. The security deposit protects utility companies from losses if the consumer fails to pay their monthly bills on time and in full. However, certain utility companies in Massachusetts allow customers to purchase and maintain a surety bond in lieu of depositing cash. Unlike most surety bonds, utility deposit bonds are not required by a government agency but by the utility company providing the service (unless a municipality owns the utility company).
What is the Purpose of the Massachusetts Utility Deposit Bond?
Certain utility companies in Massachusetts require consumers that do not wish to pay a security deposit to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining utility services. The bond ensures that the utility company will receive compensation for financial harm if the consumer fails to comply with the provisions laid out in the bond form. Specifically, the bond protects the utility company if the consumer does not pay their monthly bills. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects utility companies if the consumer fails to remit all required payments.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Massachusetts Utility Deposit Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Massachusetts Utility Deposit bond easy. Simply login to your account and use our keyword search to find the “utility” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Enroll now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone (800) 438-1162, email or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.
At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.
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Is a Credit Check Required for the Massachusetts Utility Deposit Bond?
Surety companies will run a credit check on the applicant to determine eligibility and pricing for the Massachusetts Utility Deposit bond. Applicants with excellent credit and work experience can expect to receive the best rates. Applicants with poor credit may be declined by some surety companies or pay higher rates. The credit check is a “soft hit”, meaning that the credit check will not affect the applicant’s credit.
How Much Does the Massachusetts Utility Deposit Bond Cost?
A Massachusetts Utility Deposit bond can cost anywhere between 2% to 7.5% of the bond amount per year. Insurance companies determine the rate based on a number of factors, including your customer’s credit score and experience. The chart below offers a quick reference for the approximate bond cost on a $10,000 bond requirement.
$10,000 Utility Deposit Bond Cost
|Credit Score*||Bond Cost (1 year)|
|650 – 799||$500|
|600 – 649||$750|
*The credit score ranges do not include other factors that may result in a change to the annual premium offered to your customers, including but not limited to, years of experience and underlying credit factors contained within the business owner’s credit report.
Which Companies Allow Utility Deposit Bonds in Massachusetts?
The following Massachusetts utility companies allow customers to purchase a surety bond in lieu of depositing cash:
Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond prior to initiating service. The required bond amount must equal twice the location’s average monthly bill during the last 12 months or their highest monthly bill, whichever is greater.
Agents can contact Eversource here.
Non-residential customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond. The bond amount will typically be set at twice the location’s average, or estimated average, monthly bill. Customers with wide fluctuations in usage may have their required bond amount equal twice their average monthly bill during their peak season.
Agents can contact National Grid here.
How Do Massachusetts Utility Customers File Their Bonds?
Utility customers in Massachusetts should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the company requiring the bond. The surety bond requires signatures from both the surety company that issues the bond and from the customer. In some instances, the bond will require witness signatures as well. Generally, the surety company will include the following information on the bond form:
- Name and address of entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name and address
- Entity requiring the bond
- Bond amount
- Date the bond is signed
- Date the bond goes into effect
What Can Utility Customers in Massachusetts Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims on their bonds, utility customers in Massachusetts must ensure they pay their utility bills on time and in full.
What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Utility Customers in Massachusetts?
Utility companies generally only require businesses to be bonded. As such, agents can offer their customers general business and liability insurance in addition to the utility deposit bond. Bonds are our only business at BondExchange, so we do not issue liability insurance, but our agents often utilize brokers for this specific line of business. A list of brokers in this space can be found here.
Should Your Customer Purchase a Surety Bond or Deposit Cash?
Surety bonds are generally considered the better option for businesses, as they free up working capital that would otherwise have to be deposited with the utility company. For more information on whether your customer should purchase a bond or deposit cash, check out our Surety Bonds vs. Letters of Credit article here.