Having stronger digital, community and interpersonal presence drive utilities to higher customer satisfaction scores and improved relationships, according to JD Power’s annual electric utility business survey released Wednesday.
Salt River Project earned its 17th straight top rating in the West Large Utility category, while MidAmerican Energy and Georgia Power were also repeat honorees for their regions. Baltimore Gas & Electric took the top spot in the East Large category, ending PPL Electric Utilities’ six-year run atop the rankings.
Duquesne Light, Indianapolis Power & Light, Entergy Texas and Sacramento Municipal Utility District were scored highest among their respective regional electricity peers. JD Power has been conducting the survey for two decades.
“While the top-performing electric utilities have developed a strong formula for business customer satisfaction, performance can vary considerably from one provider to the next,” said Adrian Chung, Director, Utilities Practice at J.D. Power. “The highest-ranking electric utilities make it easier to do business with them by offering customers online account management tools and products that drive cost savings. This service execution, along with a strong commitment to supporting local communities, plays a critical role in gaining satisfaction and building customer trust.”
Among the key findings of the 2018 study: Digital presence for account management improves satisfaction. Offering online accounts and electronic billing leads to a 47-point increase in overall satisfaction, according to the survey results. Other key difference makers include active community involvement, outage and product communication, increasing awareness of savings programs and strong customer relationships.
BGE led the East Large, just one point ahead of ConEdison. Appalachian Power was ranked a distant last among that group.
Duquesne Light, PEPCO and Delmarva Power were one, two, three among the East Midsized utilities. Central Maine Power was scored last.
MidAmerican Energy repeated once again in the Midwest Large, followed by Ameren Missouri and AEP Ohio. Alliant Energy was rated last, just one point lower than Consumers Energy.
Indianapolis Light & Power finished just ahead of Dayton Power & Light and Kentucky Utilities within the Midwest Midsized group. The Illuminating Co. finished last.
Georgia Power defended its South Large top ranking, while Oklahoma Gas & Electric and Alabama Power rated second and third, avenging the opposite results in the college football world. Entergy’s Texas and Mississippi units were first and third, respectively, among South Midsized Utilities, while Gulf Power was a close second.
Salt River Project of Arizona has dominated the JD Power rankings for most of their history. It was followed in the West Large by Southern California Edison and Rocky Mountain Power. San Diego Gas & Electric rated last among those utilities.
Sacramento Utility District was second to SRP in the West Large last year, and it took top spot for the midsized group this time around. Seattle City Light and Idaho Power were next, while Avista was scored at the bottom.
For more details, go to the JD Power results site. Customer strategies and technologies are part of the content offerings at the DistribuTECH conference and exhibition happening Feb. 5-7 in New Orleans.
(Rod Walton is content manager for Power Engineering and POWER-GEN International).