J.D. Power and Associates Reports: On the Heels of Powerful Storms, Customer Satisfaction with Electric Utility Companies Declines for Second Consecutive Year

Communicating with Customers via Electronic Methods Impacts Overall Satisfaction

11 Jul, 2012, 08:00 ET from J.D. Power and Associates

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a stormy second half of 2011, customer satisfaction with electric utility companies has declined for a second consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

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The study measures customer satisfaction with electric utility companies by examining six factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service.

Residential customer satisfaction with electric utility companies averages 625 (on a 1,000-point scale), a slight decrease from 628 in 2011. Satisfaction with power quality and reliability, the most important factor in driving satisfaction, has declined by 13 points from 2011. Price satisfaction has increased by 10 points, due to slightly lower monthly bill amounts and fewer customers saying that their financial condition is worse than last year. 

"Power quality and reliability is an area where electric utility companies do not always have control, as weather events and storms play a major factor in the quality and reliability of the services provided," said Chris Oberle, senior director of the energy and utility practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Many large storms have impacted satisfaction across the United States, but Hurricane Irene in August and the Halloween Nor'easter in October significantly impacted satisfaction in the East region, which has declined by 20 points from 2011."

The study finds that 82 percent of customers prefer to be proactively contacted during outages with information and updates.

"The more information electric utilities proactively provide during an outage, the higher customer satisfaction will likely be," said Oberle. "Customers value being kept up to date and want to resume their lives as quickly as possible. Notifying them in a proactive manner ensures that they know the latest information and are kept apprised of their unique situation."

Electronic Communication Yields Higher Satisfaction

Electric utility customer satisfaction averages 714 when utilities communicate with customers via electronic methods, 89 points above industry average. Satisfaction is notably higher among customers who use electronic billing and payment; are provided outage information by email, text or mobile applications; visit their electric utility company's website; or recall a message sent to them via email, website or social media platform.

"Electronic communications offer many advantages to both energy utility companies and their customers," said Oberle. "Not only are they extremely quick and cost-efficient, but they also enable utilities to tailor messages to targeted customers and allow customers to review them at their leisure. It is a win-win situation for both."

Consumer Tips

  • Utility websites typically include plenty of outage information through outage maps and electronic alerts
  • Utility social media sites often list ways to lower energy consumption, thereby lowering your bill amounts
  • Utilities engage in many local events and may be great resources for discussions regarding ways to volunteer or otherwise help your community
  • Online bill payments and electronic bill formats may help the environment, as well as provide a more convenient way for you to make payments

The study ranks large and midsize utility companies in four geographic regions: East, Midwest, South and West. Companies in the midsize utility segment serve between 125,000 and 499,999 residential customers, while companies in the large utility segment serve 500,000 or more residential customers.

East Region

Among large utilities in the East region, PPL Electric Utilities ranks highest, followed by PECO, PSE&G and Central Maine Power, respectively.

In the East region midsize utility segment, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative ranks highest for a fifth consecutive year, followed by Rochester Gas & Electric. Delmarva Power and Penn Power follow in a tie, respectively.

Midwest Region

MidAmerican Energy ranks highest among large utility companies in the Midwest region for a fifth consecutive year. Alliant Energy and We Energies rank second and third, respectively.

Omaha Public Power District ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the Midwest region for a fifth consecutive year. Following Omaha Public Power District in the segment rankings are Kentucky Utilities and Wisconsin Public Service, respectively.

South Region

CPS Energy ranks highest among large utility companies in the South region. Following CPS Energy in the rankings are FPL and Alabama Power, OG&E and South Carolina Electric & Gas, respectively.

NOVEC ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the South region, followed by Jackson EMC and Sawnee EMC, respectively.

West Region

Salt River Project (SRP) ranks highest among large utility companies in the West region for a fifth consecutive year and receives an award in the study for an 11th consecutive year. Following Salt River Project in the segment rankings are SMUD and Portland General Electric, respectively.

Clark Public Utilities ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the West region for a fifth consecutive year, followed by Seattle City Light and Colorado Springs Utilities, respectively.

The 2012 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 100,000 online interviews conducted from July 2011 through May 2012 among residential customers of the 126 largest electric utility brands across the United States, which collectively represent nearly 94 million households.

Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

East Region: Large Segment


PPL Electric Utilities           

639

PECO                                 

626

PSE&G                              

626

Central Maine Power            

623

West Penn Power                

620

Duquesne Light                      

618

NYSEG                                   

603

Penelec                               

603

National Grid                          

602

Con Edison                             

601

East Large Segment Average       

601

BGE                                  

598

NSTAR                               

598

Jersey Central Power & Light      

584

Appalachian Power          

583

Pepco                               

572

Connecticut Light & Power          

553

Long Island Power Authority    

552



East Region: Midsize Segment


Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative          

675

Rochester Gas & Electric                    

631

Delmarva Power                        

620

Penn Power                                   

620

Atlantic City Electric                            

615

Potomac Edison                                     

610

Western Massachusetts Electric                

609

East Midsize Segment Average                   

607

Met-Ed                                                

606

Central Vermont Public Service              

602

Central Hudson Gas & Electric                     

596

Mon Power                             

593

Public Service of New Hampshire         

590

United Illuminating                    

583

Orange & Rockland                     

577



Midwest Region: Large Segment


MidAmerican Energy              

666

Alliant Energy                         

646

We Energies                          

645

Xcel Energy-Midwest           

639

Duke Energy-Midwest         

637

DTE Energy - Detroit Edison    

628

KCP&L                          

625

Indiana Michigan Power              

621

Westar Energy                   

618

Midwest Large Segment Average    

617

Consumers Energy                  

616

Ohio Edison                           

614

Ameren Missouri                    

611

The Illuminating Company          

608

AEP Ohio                           

607

Ameren Illinois                     

606

ComEd                            

579



Midwest Region: Midsize Segment


Omaha Public Power District     

677

Kentucky Utilities                   

663

Wisconsin Public Service          

638

Indianapolis Power & Light           

636

Louisville Gas & Electric           

631

Midwest Midsize Segment Average  

625

NIPSCO                               

604

Dayton Power & Light             

602

Toledo Edison                         

601

Empire District Electric               

595

Vectren                                       

587

Kentucky Power                    

563



South Region: Large Segment


CPS Energy                         

661

FPL                                        

655

Alabama Power                        

652

OG&E                                      

652

South Carolina Electric & Gas       

652

Progress Energy Carolinas        

650

South Large Segment Average     

643

Entergy Arkansas                  

640

Georgia Power                       

639

Duke Energy-Carolinas             

637

Entergy Louisiana                  

637

Dominion Virginia Power       

636

Tampa Electric                     

625

Progress Energy Florida              

611



South Region: Midsize Segment


NOVEC                                

714

Jackson EMC                            

709

Sawnee EMC                       

695

SECO Energy                         

685

Clay Electric Cooperative           

681

Santee Cooper                      

677

CoServ                                    

670

Pedernales Electric                      

667

EPB                                     

652

Xcel Energy-South                   

652

Entergy Mississippi                  

644

Mississippi Power                    

642

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative         

640

Austin Energy                           

636

South Midsize Segment Average           

636

Entergy Texas                             

635

OUC                                             

635

Middle Tennessee EMC                     

632

Lee County Electric Cooperative        

631

Southwestern Electric Power              

628

Public Service Co. of Oklahoma            

626

Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative     

626

Cobb EMC                                  

624

Huntsville Utilities                            

622

Cleco Power                                  

619

Gulf Power                                       

616

Knoxville Utilities Board                     

615

Entergy New Orleans                          

607

MLGW                                             

607

NES                                               

606

JEA                                                     

589



West Region: Large Segment


SRP                                     

700

SMUD                                    

680

Portland General Electric             

673

APS                                    

662

Southern California Edison         

655

Rocky Mountain Power               

653

Pacific Power                      

646

West Large Segment Average      

638

Puget Sound Energy            

630

Pacific Gas and Electric              

618

NV Energy                         

616

San Diego Gas & Electric              

615

Xcel Energy-West             

613

L. A. Dept. of Water & Power      

608



West Region: Midsize Segment


Clark Public Utilities          

699

Seattle City Light                    

674

Colorado Springs Utilities           

665

Idaho Power                              

663

Tucson Electric Power          

662

Intermountain Rural Electric Assoc.  

661

Snohomish County PUD             

660

Tacoma Power                        

648

West Midsize Segment Average        

645

Avista                    

643

NorthWestern Energy         

625

El Paso Electric                   

601

PNM                                

599

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2010, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/

Media Relations Contacts:

Jeff Perlman; Brandware Public Relations; Woodland Hills, Calif.; (818) 598-1115; jperlman@brandwarepr.com

Syvetril Perryman; J.D. Power and Associates; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates



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