High Utility Customer Satisfaction Isn’t Translating to Use of Enhanced Offerings

December 17, 2019

40 Utility Customer Champions Designated

Although customers are highly satisfied with their utility service this year, ratings for enhanced utility offerings, specifically those that help manage bill amounts, have dropped. Adoption of digital services and consumption management programs is also beginning to stall. This signals that customer satisfaction does not translate to the use of enhanced utility offerings and the industry must focus on developing and marketing these offerings for future success. These findings are from the 2019 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

The study benchmarks and trends performance of 140 utilities on the Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) score—a composite index of Service Satisfaction, Brand Trust and Product Experience performance based on over 67,000 nationwide customer interviews. The 2019 overall industry ECR score is 713 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is unchanged from last year.

To continue to succeed with customers in the future, the utility industry needs to become proficient at developing and marketing enhanced offerings and ensuring customers are engaged. Younger Millennials and Generation Zers now compose 20% of the utility market and score utilities significantly lower on customer engagement this year. The study shows these younger customers expect innovation, digital convenience and social responsibility. They will continue to demand utilities deliver on those expectations through enhanced offerings.

Engaged Customer Relationship Score 2019 2018 Change
Gen Zers (18–24) 690 710 -20
Millennials (25–34) 709 722 -13
Gen Xers (35–54) 712 706 6
Late Boomers (55–64) 712 711 1
Early Boomers (65+) 726 722 4

 

“Customers currently have push-pull relationships with utilities where they appreciate the basic service they receive but aren’t seeing the value in engaging beyond that,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “We also see that the best utilities are those that are emerging as great product marketers. The future belongs to utilities that innovate to move from service providers to value-added partners in the eyes of their customers.”

The study designates 40 utilities as 2019 Customer Champions. These utilities have higher offering usage and provide value-added offerings and services, and are best positioned for future customer success and industry innovation.

2019 Cogent Syndicated Utility Customer Champions
AEP Ohio Elizabethtown Gas Piedmont Natural Gas
Ameren Illinois Florida Power & Light PPL Electric Utilities
Atmos Energy – South Georgia Power Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Avista Idaho Power Puget Sound Energy
Black Hills Energy – Midwest Kentucky Utilities Salt River Project
Cascade Natural Gas MidAmerican Energy Seattle City Light
CenterPoint Energy – South National Fuel Gas Southwestern Electric Power Company
Columbia Gas – South New Jersey Natural Gas TECO Peoples Gas
Columbia Gas of Ohio NW Natural Texas Gas Service
ComEd OPPD UGI Utilities
CPS Energy OUC Washington Gas
Delmarva Power Peoples Gas West Penn Power
DTE Energy Philadelphia Gas Works Xcel Energy – South
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
Delmarva Power 714 Combination
PECO 711 Combination
Con Edison 710 Combination
PSE&G 708 Combination
RG&E 704 Combination
National Grid 701 Combination
BGE 686 Combination
Eversource 684 Combination
NYSEG 668 Combination
PPL Electric Utilities 730 Electric
West Penn Power 728 Electric
Green Mountain Power 709 Electric
Penelec 709 Electric
Met-Ed 706 Electric
Appalachian Power 702 Electric
Duquesne Light Company 701 Electric
Pepco 701 Electric
Penn Power 698 Electric
Atlantic City Electric 692 Electric
PSEG Long Island 690 Electric
Jersey Central Power & Light 686 Electric
Monongahela Power 684 Electric
Potomac Edison 661 Electric
Central Maine Power 573 Electric
UGI Utilities 745 Natural Gas
New Jersey Natural Gas 737 Natural Gas
Washington Gas 737 Natural Gas
Philadelphia Gas Works 731 Natural Gas
National Fuel Gas 729 Natural Gas
Elizabethtown Gas 728 Natural Gas
Peoples 717 Natural Gas
South Jersey Gas Company 710 Natural Gas
Columbia Gas – East 688 Natural Gas

 

Midwest Region Utility Brands Engaged Customer Relationship index Service type
DTE Energy 746 Combination
Ameren Illinois 743 Combination
Black Hills Energy – Midwest 738 Combination
MidAmerican Energy 738 Combination
Xcel Energy – Midwest 723 Combination
Duke Energy Midwest 722 Combination
Wisconsin Public Service 716 Combination
Consumers Energy 713 Combination
NIPSCO 699 Combination
Vectren 692 Combination
Alliant Energy 689 Combination
We Energies 689 Combination
OPPD 738 Electric
AEP Ohio 735 Electric
ComEd 718 Electric
Dayton Power & Light 712 Electric
The Illuminating Company 705 Electric
Ohio Edison 694 Electric
Toledo Edison 693 Electric
Indiana Michigan Power 683 Electric
Indianapolis Power & Light 682 Electric
Evergy 680 Electric
Ameren Missouri 676 Electric
Peoples Gas 763 Natural Gas
Columbia Gas of Ohio 743 Natural Gas
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest 739 Natural Gas
SEMCO Energy Gas Company 726 Natural Gas
Nicor Gas 719 Natural Gas
Citizens Energy 714 Natural Gas
Dominion Energy Ohio 711 Natural Gas
Kansas Gas Service 709 Natural Gas
Spire Missouri – East 701 Natural Gas
Atmos Energy – Midwest 692 Natural Gas
Spire Missouri – West 682 Natural Gas

 

South Region Utility Brands Engaged Customer Relationship index Service type
CPS Energy 733 Combination
Louisville Gas & Electric 699 Combination
Dominion Energy South Carolina 687 Combination
MLGW 647 Combination
Florida Power & Light 750 Electric
Southwestern Electric Power Company 749 Electric
OUC 746 Electric
Georgia Power 741 Electric
Kentucky Utilities 740 Electric
Xcel Energy – South 737 Electric
Public Service Company of Oklahoma 732 Electric
OG&E 730 Electric
Mississippi Power 729 Electric
JEA 725 Electric
Nashville Electric Service 725 Electric
Alabama Power 723 Electric
Entergy Louisiana 718 Electric
TECO Tampa Electric 711 Electric
Entergy Texas 710 Electric
Gulf Power 710 Electric
Entergy Arkansas 706 Electric
Entergy Mississippi 702 Electric
Duke Energy Carolinas 698 Electric
Dominion Energy Virginia 696 Electric
Duke Energy Progress 691 Electric
Austin Energy 690 Electric
Entergy New Orleans 686 Electric
Duke Energy Florida 683 Electric
El Paso Electric 680 Electric
Kentucky Power 662 Electric
TECO Peoples Gas 779 Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas 765 Natural Gas
Columbia Gas – South 760 Natural Gas
CenterPoint Energy – South 753 Natural Gas
Atmos Energy – South 750 Natural Gas
Texas Gas Service 749 Natural Gas
Florida City Gas Company 741 Natural Gas
Oklahoma Natural Gas 740 Natural Gas
Dominion Energy North Carolina 739 Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas 736 Natural Gas
Spire South 723 Natural Gas
Chattanooga Gas Company 711 Natural Gas
Spire Mississippi 666 Natural Gas
Spire Gulf Coast 652 Natural Gas

 

West Region Utility Brands Engaged Customer Relationship index Service type
Xcel Energy – West 732 Combination
Avista 721 Combination
Puget Sound Energy 716 Combination
SDG&E 690 Combination
NorthWestern Energy 687 Combination
PG&E 645 Combination
Black Hills Energy – West 637 Combination
Salt River Project 749 Electric
Idaho Power 739 Electric
Seattle City Light 730 Electric
SMUD 728 Electric
Tucson Electric Power 725 Electric
Portland General Electric 722 Electric
NV Energy 717 Electric
Pacific Power 711 Electric
Southern California Edison 708 Electric
Rocky Mountain Power 704 Electric
PNM 691 Electric
APS 675 Electric
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 673 Electric
NW Natural 763 Natural Gas
Cascade Natural Gas 744 Natural Gas
SoCalGas 740 Natural Gas
Southwest Gas 736 Natural Gas
Intermountain Gas Company 735 Natural Gas
Dominion Energy – West 723 Natural Gas
New Mexico Gas Company 691 Natural Gas

 

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 67,379 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 in order 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 to learn more about the report.

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