Economic Optimism Fuels Business’ Trust in Utilities

July 1, 2019

20 Utilities Named Trusted Business Partners

As business owners articulate a positive outlook on their local economies, an opportunity is opening for utilities to step in as trusted business advisors. New research from Escalent finds that 69% of US businesses believe their local economy will grow in the next year, and 72% expect an increase in their revenue over the same period. Perhaps even more telling of their optimism, 65% of businesses are planning business expansions. This presents a significant opportunity for utilities to deliver energy management advice and programs. These and more findings are from the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

Each year the study tracks a composite Brand Trust score, which shows an increase in utilities being trusted by their business customers. The industry’s Brand Trust index among business customers increases 20 points from 2018 to 744 (on a 1,000-point scale) this year. Among the study’s six components that make up the Brand Trust index, Business Community Support sees the greatest increase. As awareness of utilities having “programs that help the local economy” increases, so does Brand Trust. The study also shows that 80% of businesses scoring their utility 800 or more on Brand Trust expect to expand locally, leading to an increase in energy consumption and better utility financial performance.

“Becoming part of the fabric of the local economy helps build constructive relationships with local businesses. It shows the business community you are a trusted partner in their success,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Utilities have benefitted from focusing on programmatic ways to help local economies expand. In fact, 76% of businesses that are aware of utility economic development programs also say their local economy is growing.”

Below is a list of Trusted Business Partner utilities. They are the utility industry’s local leaders on enabling economic expansion.

2019 Trusted Business Partners
Ameren Illinois Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
BGE MidAmerican Energy
CenterPoint Energy – South NIPSCO
Chattanooga Gas Company Portland General Electric
Con Edison PSE&G
Consumers Energy Puget Sound Energy
DTE Energy SMUD
Duke Energy Midwest TECO Tampa Electric
Entergy Texas Virginia Natural Gas
Florida Power & Light Xcel Energy – West

The following charts reflect benchmarking of business’ trust levels in their electric and natural gas utilities compared with their peers. Brand Trust index scores are based on a 1,000-point maximum scale.

2019 Business Customer Brand Trust Benchmark Scoring
East Region   Midwest Region  
Con Edison 797 Duke Energy Midwest 779
PSE&G 792 Ameren Illinois 777
BGE 786 MidAmerican Energy 775
NYSEG 761 DTE Energy 772
Eversource Energy 757 NIPSCO 771
Jersey Central Power & Light 756 Consumers Energy 762
PPL Electric Utilities 738 AEP Ohio 756
National Grid 735 ComEd 754
PECO Energy 718 Nicor Gas 746
West Penn Power 708 Ameren Missouri 745
Penelec 700 Xcel Energy – Midwest 744
PSEG Long Island 689 OPPD 742
Appalachian Power 685 Ohio Edison 739
Wisconsin Public Service 738
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest 736
Alliant Energy 711
We Energies 707
KCP&L 706
2019 Business Customer Brand Trust Benchmark Scoring
South Region West Region
Chattanooga Gas Company 793 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 770
CenterPoint Energy – South 792 Puget Sound Energy 767
Florida Power & Light 789 SMUD 767
Virginia Natural Gas 783 Portland General Electric 755
Entergy Texas 780 Xcel Energy- West 752
TECO Tampa Electric 775 NV Energy 744
Duke Energy Florida 769 Pacific Power 739
Entergy Mississippi 761 Salt River Project 739
Public Service Company of Oklahoma 761 PG&E 734
Alabama Power 756 SDG&E 732
Georgia Power 755 Southern California Edison 732
Dominion Energy Virginia 745 NorthWestern Energy 727
Duke Energy Carolinas 744 Rocky Mountain Power 723
CPS Energy 743 APS 709
Kentucky Utilities 735 Idaho Power 703
Entergy New Orleans 734 PNM 638
OG&E 732
Duke Energy Progress 731
Gulf Power 722
Entergy Louisiana 721
Louisville Gas & Electric 720
Entergy Arkansas 709
Southwestern Electric Power Company 703
SCE&G 673

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business

Escalent conducted surveys among 12,577 business electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 78 largest US utility companies (based on customer counts). Utilities are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

 

Click below for more about the Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business study.

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