Customer Trust In Many Electric Retailers Is Being Challenged, Escalent names Most Trusted Brands among Texas Retail Electric Providers

July 13, 2021

After years of consistently growing brand trust among their customers, trust in Texas retail electric providers (REPs) eroded in the first half of 2021 as winter storms left customers seeking support beyond standard service. The average Texas REP scored 739 on Escalent’s Brand Trust Index in the second half of 2020 thanks to the customer support REPs provided during the pandemic. In the first half of 2021, the score declined to 723 as customers were disappointed with some REPs on their support during the winter storms. These findings are from the Cogent Syndicated 2021 Texas REP Trusted Brand study, conducted by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm.

Escalent has measured customer trust of more than 50 Texas REPs since 2016 using the firm’s Brand Trust Index, which is a composite score of the full customer experience. While all Texas REPs perform extremely well on satisfaction with rate, billing and customer service, other factors have more impact on the brand strength and value of a REP.

Performance to customer expectations on community support, environmental stewardship, ease of doing business, being prepared for emergencies, and putting the needs of their customers first are qualities that build greater brand loyalty and customer attraction. Yet, these ratings are lower for REPs overall than service satisfaction and show clear differences between good and great REPs.

“The 2021 storms were a real test for Texas REPs in terms of how they support and relate to customers. And many providers were able to show true commitment to their customers and communities,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “In terms of brand value, the challenge for lower scoring REPs is proving why customers should want to do business with them. During the storms, customers learned which retailers deserve their business and identified the ones most trusted to provide the full value and support they expect. Our list of most trusted REPs exceeded those expectations.”

Additional findings from the study:

  • There is a large 157-point gap between the most and least trusted Texas REPs
  • Brilliant Energy and Constellation grew Brand Trust more than other REPs
  • Customer satisfaction with billing, payment and customer service rates a very high 749
  • A decrease in the average Net Promoter Score (NPS) to 14.5 signals an erosion of loyalty among REP customers
  • Only 13% of customers received information from REP during outage events
  • There is now equal preference to buy energy from the incumbent utility as a REP
  • One in four (27%) customers will shop for a new REP within the next 6 months
  • One in five customers would switch REPs for $2 or less in monthly bill savings
  • 60% of customers recall a marketing communication from another REP
  • Free nights and weekends plans are losing appeal in attracting new customers
  • Most Trusted REPs are growing market share faster than peers

Escalent congratulates the following REPs on being named Most Trusted Brands among Texas REPs. These brands represent customer-focused companies that Texans can trust to exceed their expectations.

Cogent Syndicated 2021 Most Trusted Brands among Texas Retail Electric Providers
4Change Energy Express Energy
Alliance Power Green Mountain Energy
Ameripower TriEagle Energy
Constellation Xoom Energy

Below are Texas REPs ranked by Escalent’s Brand Trust Index, showing annual score change.

Texas Retail Electric Provider Brand Trust Index % Score Change From 2020
TriEagle Energy 797 8%
4Change Energy 792 5%
Constellation 785 12%
Express Energy 781 n/a
Ameripower 765 -8%
Green Mountain Energy 759 -3%
Xoom Energy 757 6%
Alliance Power 756 -5%
Cirro Energy 752 -1%
CPL Retail Energy 749 4%
New Power Texas 742 n/a
Acacia Energy 739 -4%
Brilliant Energy 739 14%
Amigo Energy 738 0%
Reliant Energy 737 2%
Spark Energy 734 -6%
Champion Energy Services 732 -4%
Ambit Energy 729 4%
TXU Energy 725 -1%
Direct Energy 724 -1%
Stream Energy 705 -2%
WTU Retail 705 -6%
Entrust Energy 703 11%
Gexa Energy 694 1%
Just Energy 693 -2%
Frontier 676 -1%
First Choice Power 674 -3%
Discount Power 640 -8%

* Boldface Texas REPs are 2021 Most Trusted Brands

About Texas REP Trusted Brand™

Cogent Syndicated measures Customer Engagement and Brand Trust among customers of Texas retail electric providers by surveying 4,582 customers across providers based upon data-driven models. The study measures key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide management perspectives on how to improve REP brand positioning, sales and promotion, customer trust, effective messaging, product sales, customer experiences, service quality, customer acquisition and loyalty. Escalent’s Brand Trust Index comprises nine factors: community support, customer focus, communications effectiveness, environmental dedication, local reputation, reliable quality, competitive rates, enhanced offerings, and billing and customer service. The study collects a demographically representative sample across all Texas service territories open for retail electric competition. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

 

Click below to learn more about the full report.

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