Escalent Finds Success of Utilities Tied to Engagement Beyond the Meter, Names 2020 Customer Champions

December 15, 2020

Customer engagement with the nation’s largest 140 electric, combination and natural gas utilities has reached a new high thanks to effective utility responses to challenges posed by the pandemic and economy. Escalent’s ECR (engaged customer relationship) index, a comprehensive customer relationship measurement used by utility management to assess customer engagement, increased 15 points this year to 728 (on a 1,000-point benchmark scale) as a result of strengthened brand perceptions and increased product engagement. Forty-two utilities performed above their peers to earn the title of Escalent 2020 Utility Customer Champions. These results are from the 2020 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

Customers, Wall Street and regulators have all made it clear that the future success of a utility depends on engagement beyond the meter. Three in four (76%) customers now state their ideal utility should excel in the areas of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), all categories that align with the ECR index’s Brand Trust component. Customers also report increased product engagement with high use of energy consumption management offerings (64% across 13 offerings) and interest in renewable energy and electric vehicle-related products (74% across seven offerings).

“Engaging customers beyond simply satisfying service needs is now a utility reality to ensure future success. Scoring well on the ECR index is critical to growing company value and stakeholder support,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Utilities have confronted a very tough year by building customer support for their environmental, social, product and management efforts. Our 2020 Customer Champions are leading the pack on these ESG principles.”

Escalent congratulates the following utilities as 2020 Customer Champions. These utilities have scored above their peers on the ECR index, a 360-degree measurement of the utility customer relationship through performance on factors that impact Brand Trust, Product Experience and Service Satisfaction.

Cogent Syndicated 2020 Utility Customer Champions
AEP Ohio Duquesne Light Pepco
Atmos Energy – South Elizabethtown Gas Piedmont Natural Gas
Avista Idaho Power PPL Electric Utilities
BGE Intermountain Gas Company PSE&G
Black Hills Energy – Midwest Kentucky Utilities RG&E
Cascade Natural Gas MidAmerican Energy Salt River Project
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest Montana-Dakota Utilities SDG&E
Columbia Gas – South New Jersey Natural Gas TECO Peoples Gas
Columbia Gas of Ohio NIPSCO Texas Gas Service
CPS Energy NW Natural Toledo Edison
Dayton Power & Light Oklahoma Natural Gas Washington Gas
Delmarva Power OUC Wisconsin Public Service
DTE Energy PECO Energy Xcel Energy – Midwest
Duke Energy Midwest Peoples Gas Xcel Energy – West

The following are ECR scores for the 140 utilities covered in the study.

East Region Utility Brands Engaged Customer Relationship index Service type
RG&E 750 Combination
PECO Energy 743 Combination
PSE&G 741 Combination
BGE 732 Combination
Delmarva Power 730 Combination
Con Edison 723 Combination
National Grid 719 Combination
NYSEG 709 Combination
Eversource 698 Combination
Pepco 749 Electric
PPL Electric Utilities 748 Electric
Duquesne Light 732 Electric
Penelec 726 Electric
Green Mountain Power 725 Electric
Penn Power 725 Electric
Met-Ed 717 Electric
Potomac Edison 704 Electric
Atlantic City Electric 700 Electric
West Penn Power 697 Electric
Appalachian Power 692 Electric
Mon Power 681 Electric
PSEG Long Island 676 Electric
Jersey Central Power & Light 671 Electric
Central Maine Power 666 Electric
Washington Gas 769 Natural Gas
Elizabethtown Gas 755 Natural Gas
New Jersey Natural Gas 754 Natural Gas
National Fuel Gas 747 Natural Gas
UGI Utilities 746 Natural Gas
South Jersey Gas Company 743 Natural Gas
Peoples 741 Natural Gas
Philadelphia Gas Works 723 Natural Gas
Columbia Gas – East 695 Natural Gas

 

Midwest Region Utility Brands Engaged Customer Relationship index Service type
DTE Energy 753 Combination
Black Hills Energy – Midwest 751 Combination
Wisconsin Public Service 743 Combination
Xcel Energy – Midwest 743 Combination
MidAmerican Energy 742 Combination
NIPSCO 741 Combination
Montana-Dakota Utilities 740 Combination
Duke Energy Midwest 735 Combination
Ameren Illinois 733 Combination
Consumers Energy 727 Combination
Alliant Energy 715 Combination
We Energies 699 Combination
Vectren 684 Combination
Toledo Edison 746 Electric
Dayton Power & Light 739 Electric
AEP Ohio 735 Electric
OPPD 726 Electric
Indianapolis Power & Light 723 Electric
ComEd 719 Electric
Ohio Edison 716 Electric
Indiana Michigan Power 712 Electric
Ameren Missouri 711 Electric
The Illuminating Company 704 Electric
Evergy 696 Electric
Columbia Gas of Ohio 760 Natural Gas
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest 744 Natural Gas
Peoples Gas 740 Natural Gas
Nicor Gas 736 Natural Gas
Spire Missouri – East 732 Natural Gas
Dominion Energy Ohio 726 Natural Gas
Kansas Gas Service 718 Natural Gas
Atmos Energy – Midwest 718 Natural Gas
Citizens Energy 709 Natural Gas
Spire Missouri – West 708 Natural Gas

 

South Region Utility Brands Engaged Customer Relationship index Service type
CPS Energy 749 Combination
Louisville Gas & Electric 725 Combination
Dominion Energy South Carolina 712 Combination
MLGW 688 Combination
OUC 776 Electric
Kentucky Utilities 766 Electric
Florida Power & Light 755 Electric
Georgia Power 751 Electric
TECO Tampa Electric 747 Electric
Entergy Texas 736 Electric
Entergy Mississippi 735 Electric
OG&E 735 Electric
Mississippi Power 734 Electric
Entergy Louisiana 733 Electric
Duke Energy Carolinas 732 Electric
Dominion Energy Virginia 731 Electric
Entergy Arkansas 727 Electric
Alabama Power 727 Electric
Public Service Company of Oklahoma 725 Electric
Xcel Energy – South 724 Electric
Duke Energy Florida 724 Electric
Southwestern Electric Power Company 722 Electric
Nashville Electric Service 721 Electric
Austin Energy 714 Electric
Gulf Power 712 Electric
JEA 710 Electric
El Paso Electric 710 Electric
Duke Energy Progress 697 Electric
Entergy New Orleans 687 Electric
Kentucky Power 662 Electric
Columbia Gas – South 787 Natural Gas
TECO Peoples Gas 781 Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas 778 Natural Gas
Texas Gas Service 760 Natural Gas
Oklahoma Natural Gas 757 Natural Gas
Atmos Energy – South 757 Natural Gas
CenterPoint Energy – South 753 Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas 745 Natural Gas
Spire Alabama 743 Natural Gas
Chattanooga Gas Company 739 Natural Gas
Dominion Energy North Carolina 738 Natural Gas
Florida City Gas Company 732 Natural Gas
Spire Mississippi 705 Natural Gas
Spire Gulf Coast 702 Natural Gas

 

West Region Utility Brands Engaged Customer Relationship index Service type
SDG&E 749 Combination
Xcel Energy – West 742 Combination
Avista 735 Combination
Puget Sound Energy 728 Combination
Colorado Springs Utilities 727 Combination
NorthWestern Energy 723 Combination
Black Hills Energy – West 663 Combination
PG&E 645 Combination
Idaho Power 764 Electric
Salt River Project 748 Electric
Portland General Electric 737 Electric
Seattle City Light 735 Electric
SMUD 733 Electric
Pacific Power 733 Electric
Tucson Electric Power 723 Electric
Rocky Mountain Power 720 Electric
Southern California Edison 716 Electric
NV Energy 715 Electric
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 690 Electric
PNM 674 Electric
APS 673 Electric
Cascade Natural Gas 788 Natural Gas
NW Natural 787 Natural Gas
Intermountain Gas Company 762 Natural Gas
Southwest Gas 752 Natural Gas
SoCalGas 746 Natural Gas
New Mexico Gas Company 732 Natural Gas
Dominion Energy West 727 Natural Gas

 

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 73,170 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 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. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

 

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