Brand Trust Is Higher for Utilities That Spend More on Communication and Highlight Savings and Environmental Programs for Customers

June 27, 2024

Escalent Recognizes 33 Utilities as 2024 Most Trusted Brands

Higher investments in communication and more frequent messaging on preferred channels increase Americans’ trust in utility companies even though customers face ongoing inflation-related economic difficulties. The utility industry Brand Trust Index is down for the third year in a row, declining eight points to 680 on a 0-to-1,000 scale. However, Brand Trust is 5% higher than the industry average among utilities that have effectively communicated savings opportunities, environmental programs, and utility value drivers. Today, we name these 33 top utilities as the 2024 Most Trusted Brands.

Those are some of the latest findings of the 2024 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study, which tracks the performance of 142 gas, electric and combination utilities to identify brand and customer experience opportunities and trends in the industry. The report is published semiannually by Escalent, a top data analytics and advisory firm with extensive energy, utility and brand experience.

The Communications Intensity Index, an indicator of per-customer spending, for the Most Trusted Brands is also 10% higher than the industry average. More importantly, customers of the Most Trusted Brands find the communication more relevant, accurate and easy to understand.

“The real advantage of the 2024 Most Trusted Brands is their expertise in crafting messages that reinforce the value proposition and strengthen customer awareness of satisfaction-driving benefits such as reliability, ease of service interactions, energy-saving programs, and the ways the utility supports a clean environment,” said Suzanne Haggerty, director of syndicated research with the Energy team at Escalent.

Although monthly utility bill manageability perceptions have stabilized since mid-2023, they are still significantly lower than in 2021. Additionally, while customers have decreasing perceptions that utilities offer reasonable rates for the services they provide, which continues to lower Brand Trust, customers also report decreased perceptions that their utilities are ethical in dealing with customers or that utilities consider customer concerns in business decisions.

Conversely, the 2024 Most Trusted Brands continue to significantly outperform the industry on all three of those perceptions. They have 9% higher value scores and their customers have significantly higher perceptions of their ethics and willingness to consider customer concerns. Additionally, the Most Trusted Brands more effectively use bills to help customers identify savings opportunities, with 6% higher scores for the perception that the bill provides information on ways to lower consumption.

Historically, higher-scoring utilities have also developed and promoted a portfolio of products and services focused on energy management and savings, allowing them to serve as consultative partners rather than simple service providers. Sometimes, their portfolios aren’t significantly different from those of similar companies, but their program communication is easier to understand and highlights customer benefits. This year, the Most Trusted Brands see 6% higher scores for the perception that their voluntary offerings can help customers lower their costs.

“Many customers have become cynical about utility motives. The significant bill increases related to fuel prices in 2022 took an incredible toll on Brand Trust and many customers were left jaded. However, the 2024 Most Trusted Brands have really invested in and optimized their communication strategies to achieve several goals,” added Haggerty. “They’re helping customers manage utility spending and sharing a convincing utility value proposition, which helps fight customer cynicism, leading to improved Brand Trust.”

Escalent is pleased to name these 33 utilities as our 2024 Most Trusted Brands.

Cogent Syndicated 2024 Most Trusted Utility Brands*
Atmos Energy – Midwest Mississippi Power
Avista Montana-Dakota Utilities
Black Hills Energy – Midwest National Grid
Cascade Natural Gas New Jersey Natural Gas
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest Nicor Gas
CenterPoint Energy – South NIPSCO
Chattanooga Gas Company Philadelphia Gas Works
Columbia Gas – South Piedmont Natural Gas
Columbia Gas of Ohio PSE&G
Con Edison Puget Sound Energy
Dominion Energy South Carolina Salt River Project
Florida City Gas Company Spire Mississippi
Georgia Power TECO Peoples Gas
Green Mountain Power Washington Gas
Indiana Michigan Power Wisconsin Public Service
Intermountain Gas Company Xcel Energy – Midwest
Louisville Gas & Electric

* Utilities named as Most Trusted Brands are selected based on having Brand Trust Index scores in the top decile of the industry, the top score within their respective benchmark segment, or a Brand Trust Index score within 20 points of the top benchmark segment score and above the industry average.


The following tables reflect regional peer benchmark Brand Trust scores among the 142 utilities surveyed. These scores reflect the level of trust customers have with each utility.

East Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
PSE&G Combination 708
Con Edison Combination 701
National Grid Combination 689
BGE Combination 683
Delmarva Power Combination 683
PECO Combination 679
Eversource Combination 653
Unitil Combination 623
NYSEG Combination 617
RG&E Combination 591
Green Mountain Power Electric 704
Duquesne Light Company Electric 681
PPL Electric Utilities Electric 681
Pepco Electric 678
Penelec Electric 666
Penn Power Electric 666
West Penn Power Electric 660
Potomac Edison Electric 656
Met-Ed Electric 655
Mon Power Electric 649
PSEG Long Island Electric 647
Atlantic City Electric Electric 644
Jersey Central Power & Light Electric 639
Appalachian Power Electric 570
Central Maine Power Electric 562
Washington Gas Natural Gas 733
Philadelphia Gas Works Natural Gas 725
New Jersey Natural Gas Natural Gas 713
Elizabethtown Gas Natural Gas 705
National Fuel Gas Natural Gas 700
South Jersey Gas Company Natural Gas 698
Columbia Gas – East Natural Gas 691
Peoples Natural Gas 691
UGI Utilities Natural Gas 690


Midwest Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
Xcel Energy – Midwest Combination 729
Montana-Dakota Utilities Combination 725
NIPSCO Combination 718
Wisconsin Public Service Combination 715
Black Hills Energy – Midwest Combination 711
Consumers Energy Combination 701
Alliant Energy Combination 695
MidAmerican Energy Combination 694
Ameren Illinois Combination 688
DTE Energy Combination 681
Duke Energy Midwest Combination 669
We Energies Combination 666
CenterPoint Energy – Indiana Combination 514
Indiana Michigan Power Electric 720
Ameren Missouri Electric 694
ComEd Electric 679
Ohio Edison Electric 674
OPPD Electric 664
AEP Ohio Electric 660
AES Indiana Electric 658
The Illuminating Company Electric 657
Toledo Edison Electric 647
Evergy Electric 627
AES Ohio Electric 622
Columbia Gas of Ohio Natural Gas 719
Atmos Energy – Midwest Natural Gas 716
Nicor Gas Natural Gas 705
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest Natural Gas 704
Peoples Gas Natural Gas 698
Spire Missouri – East Natural Gas 688
Dominion Energy Ohio Natural Gas 683
Citizens Energy Natural Gas 680
Spire Missouri – West Natural Gas 676
Kansas Gas Service Natural Gas 673


South Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
Dominion Energy South Carolina Combination 692
Louisville Gas & Electric Combination 682
CPS Energy Combination 661
MLGW Combination 581
Mississippi Power Electric 747
Georgia Power Electric 731
OUC Electric 725
Florida Power & Light Electric 714
Alabama Power Electric 703
Duke Energy Progress Electric 696
TECO Tampa Electric Electric 694
Dominion Energy Virginia Electric 690
Duke Energy Florida Electric 687
Entergy Mississippi Electric 687
Southwestern Electric Power Company Electric 686
Entergy Texas Electric 681
JEA Electric 678
Xcel Energy – South Electric 675
Public Service Company of Oklahoma Electric 674
Duke Energy Carolinas Electric 673
Nashville Electric Service Electric 671
Entergy Louisiana Electric 666
Kentucky Utilities Electric 665
Entergy Arkansas Electric 659
OG&E Electric 651
El Paso Electric Electric 650
Austin Energy Electric 630
Entergy New Orleans Electric 629
Kentucky Power Electric 586
FPL Northwest FL Electric 583
Florida City Gas Company Natural Gas 764
TECO Peoples Gas Natural Gas 752
Piedmont Natural Gas Natural Gas 746
Chattanooga Gas Company Natural Gas 743
Columbia Gas – South Natural Gas 741
Spire Mississippi Natural Gas 737
CenterPoint Energy – South Natural Gas 735
Atmos Energy – South Natural Gas 721
Spire Gulf Coast Natural Gas 714
Dominion Energy North Carolina Natural Gas 711
Spire Alabama Natural Gas 707
Virginia Natural Gas Natural Gas 707
Texas Gas Service Natural Gas 703
Oklahoma Natural Gas Natural Gas 695


West Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
Puget Sound Energy Combination 692
Avista Combination 684
Colorado Springs Utilities Combination 680
NorthWestern Energy Combination 680
Xcel Energy Colorado Combination 674
Black Hills Energy – West Combination 657
PG&E Combination 577
SDG&E Combination 511
Salt River Project Electric 756
Seattle City Light Electric 717
SMUD Electric 714
Snohomish County PUD Electric 708
Idaho Power Electric 692
Tucson Electric Power Electric 692
APS Electric 691
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Electric 691
Rocky Mountain Power Electric 685
Pacific Power Electric 671
Southern California Edison Electric 669
PNM Electric 667
Portland General Electric Electric 660
NV Energy Electric 633
Cascade Natural Gas Natural Gas 749
Intermountain Gas Company Natural Gas 729
NW Natural Natural Gas 712
New Mexico Gas Company Natural Gas 709
SoCalGas Natural Gas 702
Dominion Energy – West Natural Gas 696
Southwest Gas Natural Gas 684

About the Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study

Escalent conducted surveys among 61,432 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 142 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses a combination of quotas and weighting based on US census data to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. The Brand Trust index score is a composite based upon consumer ratings across six factors. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

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