According to the 2019-2020 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) Energy Utilities Report, customer satisfaction dropped 1.5% to 72.1 (on a 0-100 scale).
Overall in the sector, customer satisfaction with natural gas delivery fell 3% with an index score of 76, while electric services dropped 1% to a score of 71.
The results comprise three categories of utilities: investor-owned, municipal, and cooperative. Cooperative utilities hold the highest customer satisfaction among the three groups despite plunging 2.7% to 73. Investor-owned utilities and municipal utilities also fell, each dipping 1.4% to tie at 72.
Residential customers aren’t happy with the current state of their service, said ASCI. Similar to a year ago, the decline in satisfaction is widespread, with most individual utility companies experiencing flat or lower customer satisfaction scores.
The report states that no investor-owned utility scored 80 or above, and natural gas providers lead the utilities; specifically, Atmos Energy, with a score of 78. Just behind Atmos is CenterPoint Energy (77), NextEra Energy (76), and the following utilities each with a score of 75: Sempra Energy, NiSource, Southern Company and Consolidated Edison.
On the low end, Duke Energy shows improvement in customer perceptions of value, but is still at a score of 71. Everscore Energy is close behind at 69.
Finally, PG&E is at the bottom, lowering 10% to 63, due to bankruptcy in January 2019 and equipment failures and blackouts linked to deadly wildfires in both 2018 and 2019.
For the second straight year, customers are less happy with their municipal energy utility services, but unlike last year, there are no major drops among the energy providers. Arizona-based utility, Salt River Project, stays at 77 as a result of its service reliability. The rest of the category ties at the industry average of 72.
Smaller cooperatives serving rural areas also lower customer satisfaction scores and now only lead municipal utilities by 1 point. The largest cooperative energy utility, Touchstone Energy, being the highest overall score at 74.
David VanAmburg, Managing Director at the American Customer Satisfaction Index states that “This past year was marked by one natural disaster after another, and grids remain under constant pressure from cyberattacks. At the same time, consumers want cleaner energy, smarter technology, and energy-saving practices. While utility companies have a long way to go to, there’s at least a path forward to meet customer needs and deliver the experience customers want and expect.”