Yes, utilities may have been billing this way first, but there are physical, tangible assets changing hands that have significant commodity value — water requires power to pump, there are physical pipes that need periodic cleaning and replacing, and the maintenance involved is orders of magnitude greater due to the higher wear and tear on the utility systems than it is on communications. A water or gas pump running at 100% duty cycle will wear out faster, a communications wire running at rated load will not. The cost to replace an industrial pump and pipes, especially for something like natural gas? MUCH greater than the cost to run some new cable in a conduit or hang wires or install wireless antennas and routers.
Therefore Susan is right, and mobile phones is the correct analogy where there is an artificial and unjustified overhead in pricing compared to the cost of providing the product/service.
Data usage is NOT the same as physical material usage.