TECO and ConEdison led the way as gas utilities achieved their highest customer satisfaction levels ever in the J.D. Power study released this week. Louisville Gas & Electric and NW Natural also topped their respective regions.
The 11th J.D. Power Calendar-Year Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Survey showed that safety and reliability scores averaged 802 on a 1,000-point scale, while billing and payment registered at 800. Both averages rose above previous years, while 76 percent of business customers said their gas utility was helpful in preparing for safety issues.
“Effective communication is everything when it comes to utility customer satisfaction,” said Carl Lepper, senior industry analyst, utility & infrastructure practice at J.D. Power, in the release. “The phenomenon is most pronounced when dealing with safety issues, but even with more routine tasks like billing inquiries and alerts, participation in community events, and media appearances, we’re consistently seeing higher overall satisfactions scores when utilities are most proficient at communicating with their customers across a number of different channels.”
TECO Peoples Gas scored higher than all comers with 822 points, also good enough to finish first in the South Region just over CenterPoint Energy-South at 802 points. ConEdison was No. 1 in the East with 798, with Washington Gas second at 779 points.
Louisville Gas & Electric headed up the Midwest with 795 points and Kansas Gas Service second at 788. NW Natural and New Mexico Gas Co. were No. 1 and 2 in the West with 807 and 797 points, respectively.
Now in its 11th year, the J.D. Power gas study indicated that online interaction was the customer service channel showing the most improvement with a 39-point rise. Media coverage also mattered greatly, as satisfaction among customers who remembered a positive media story averaged 17 points higher than among those who only recalled a direct company communication.