Several perennial leaders topped the regional segments of research firm J.D. Power’s latest annual survey for residential electric customers.
PPL, MidAmerican, Kentucky Utilities, EPB, Salt River Project and Clark Public Utilities once again led the scoring by customers in their respective regions. Arizona-based SRP is a 19-time repeat regional leader in the west large utility segment, while Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy and Washington state’s Clark Public Utilities are 13-time first-placers.
Those electric utilities which scored highest with customers were lauded for doing stellar communications during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report.
“These satisfaction scores are evidence that kindness and being a good corporate citizen during challenging times is worth all the effort and communication that goes with it,” said John Hazen, managing director of utilities intelligence at J.D. Power. “The challenge will come in 2021 as electric utility providers go back to business as usual and continue collections and shut-offs. The way to maintain higher satisfaction will be to continue to communicate when these changes will occur and provide excellent service.”
Many utilities, maybe most, have implemented bill delay or forgiveness plans during the crisis that so far has killed more than 350,000 Americans. Creating awareness about those plans was key to customer scoring, according to J.D. Power. Satisfaction among customers who are aware of assistance programs during the pandemic is 795 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. 719 among those customers who were not aware.
The 2020 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 96,546 online interviews conducted from January through November 2020 among residential customers of the 143 largest electric utility brands across the United States, which represent more than 102 million households.
Overall, Georgia-based Sawnee EMC was the highest rated utility with 826 points from the cooperatives category, just ahead of GreyStone Power at 816 points. Clark Public Utilities led all others at 812 points and was highest rated in the west midsize sector.
Salt River Project, Tennessee-based EPB and Florida Power & Light all scored at 800 or above to lead their respective west large, south midsize and east large regional sectors. PPL Electric Utilities, Rochester (NY) Gas & Electric, Kentucky Utilities and MidAmerican Energy topped the east large, east midsize, midwest midsize and midwest large, respectively.
Click here to see more about the J.D. Power residential electric customer satisfaction study released last month.