Residential Customer Satisfaction Levels Drop
Two surveys, conducted by RKS Research and Consulting, indicate that residential customers have an increased awareness of deregulation, high expectations of lower prices and improved services, together with dramatically declining levels of satisfaction with utility performance and value. More than eight out of 10 California residents, 81 percent, are aware of deregulation, compared to 42 percent nationally. In California, 75 percent support having the ability to choose their energy providers, anticipating a 14 percent savings the first year.
California residents give their utilities significantly lower satisfaction scores than the rest of the nation, particularly in the area of price. “These are surprising findings, and clearly come as good news for new entrants in California energy markets,” said David Reichman, RKS president.
According to the RKS survey, more than half of California residents have changed their long distance telephone carriers in the last year; 42 percent of these consumers have changed their long distance suppliers more than once. Two thirds believe they benefit from telephone deregulation and 53 percent now purchase packaged services from telecommunications companies.
Across the United States, nearly three out of four residential customers don`t believe electricity is a good value, and awareness of utility advertising and frequency of long distance telephone switching are both on the increase. Only a quarter of U.S. households feel extremely favorable toward their current utility.
Despite the negative trends, the report contains some heartening news for utilities wanting to sell products and services to residential customers. Survey respondents support the idea of a single monthly bill that combines their electricity, gas, water, sewer and trash services.