RKS survey series to measure impact of national business issues on utility customer relationships

NORTH SALEM, N.Y., July 10, 2002 — Amid deteriorating public attitudes toward U.S. business, including the nation’s energy industry, RKS Research & Consulting has announced the addition of a new dimension of questions and analysis to its established national surveys of utility customers.

RKS’ national “Energy Essentials” customer surveys start this month with an entirely new wave of questions for U.S. consumers and businesses. Entitled “Credibility Crisis: Earning Customer Trust,” this new series of in-depth telephone interviews will measure the effects of current energy issues on customer satisfaction, support and trust toward the local electric utility and natural gas distribution company. Results will be in the hands of study sponsors after Labor Day.

The second phase of the RKS “Energy Essentials” market research kicks off in the fall with the exclusive RKS Energy Performance Monitor. This wave of research builds on the summer findings and draws on the RKS national benchmarks that have evolved over 15 years of survey experience for measuring customer satisfaction, value and service.

The fall surveys take the pulse of all customer classes — residential, medium-to-large U.S. businesses, small business owners and multi-site key accounts. Results will be available to survey sponsors by year end.

“The present unsettled business climate raises fundamental issues about the relationship between American electric utilities, local gas distribution companies, and their residential and business customers,” said David J. Reichman, president of RKS. “The new surveys we’re about to launch this summer provide a quick and objective method to measure the impact of national attitudes on day-to-day utility operations and customer relationships.”

The RKS national surveys will also introduce new performance measures that allow participants to compare their results with neighboring utilities or designated “Market Leaders.” Reichman added, “The benchmarking features also allow for valuable comparisons among utilities of all classes — investor-owned, municipal systems and energy co-operatives.”

Now entering its 29th year of business, RKS Research & Consulting designs and conducts both syndicated and customized market research and public opinion polling for energy and natural resources clients, including their major associations. RKS has 15 years of experience in managing national business and consumer assessments of utility performance.

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