Late fees will be applied at 5 p.m. on the due date listed on City of Ottawa utility payments, Scott Bird, the cityís director of finance, said.

New software will allow the city to assess the late fee at the close of business on the day itís due, rather than applying the late charge to a personís account by 3 p.m. the next day, ending a grace period of a few hours that utility customers will no longer have at their discretion, Bird said.

To avoid late fees on a due date after 3 p.m., customers also are urged to bring their payments to the utility office in City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. Payments left in the drop box after 3 p.m. on the due date might not be processed in time and would be subject to the late fee, Bird said.