Stronger Community and Communication Skills are Building Utility Trust

June 25, 2019

32 Utilities Named Most Trusted Brands

Community Support and Communications Effectiveness increase Americans’ trust in their utility. According to customers, utilities are earning trust by encouraging employee volunteering, listening to community feedback and making consumers more aware of local support and charitable giving. Customers were also happier with the information utilities communicated and the mediums used to deliver those communications. These and other findings are from the 2019 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential report from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

The study’s composite Brand Trust index score increased 1 point to 688 (on a 1,000-point scale) this year. Among the six components included in the Brand Trust index, Community Support and Communications Effectiveness increased the most. Building Brand Trust provides a positive return on investment for the industry as customers increasingly rely on utilities to provide energy innovation and are more likely to support higher rates for that innovation. Moreover, the study shows that as public trust grows, utilities become much more credible than state governments and regulators to lead industry innovation and progress.

“The nation’s best utilities are trusted energy advisers whose consumers value their opinions and recommendations,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent.  “Industry regulators who are looking to shape the future of energy need to encourage the utilities they regulate to focus on building brand trust.  Otherwise, our research finds that innovations in clean energy, EV expansion, consumption management, and digital services are going to languish on low consumer demand for utility-developed offerings.”

Of the 140 utilities included in the Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential study, 14 significantly improved on Brand Trust and 14 significantly declined, creating a 214-point gap between the highest and lowest utility score.

Below is Escalent’s list of 2019 Most Trusted Utility Brands. Congratulations to the 32 utilities that have shown industry leadership and scored highest on the study’s overall Brand Trust index among their peers.

2019 Most Trusted Brands
Combination Utilities Electric Utilities Natural Gas Utilities
DTE Energy OUC TECO Peoples Gas
Black Hills Energy – Midwest Georgia Power Piedmont Natural Gas
Con Edison SMUD NW Natural
PECO Southwestern Electric Power Company CenterPoint Energy – South
CPS Energy Florida Power & Light Texas Gas Service
Puget Sound Energy Salt River Project PSNC Energy
Avista PPL Electric Utilities UGI Utilities
AEP Ohio Peoples Gas
Dayton Power & Light New Jersey Natural Gas
OPPD SEMCO Energy Gas Company
Washington Gas
National Fuel Gas
Citizens Energy
Peoples
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest

Following charts reflect regional peer benchmark Brand Trust scores among the 140 utilities surveyed. These scores reflect the amount of trust customers have with each utility.

East Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Combination Service
(Electric and Natural Gas)
Electric Service Natural Gas Service
Con Edison 720 PPL Electric Utilities 708 UGI Utilities 727
PECO 705 West Penn Power 683 New Jersey Natural Gas 723
PSE&G 698 Atlantic City Electric 680 Washington Gas 717
Delmarva Power 695 Duquesne Light Company 677 National Fuel Gas 716
BGE 675 Pepco 673 Peoples 709
National Grid 675 Penelec 669 Philadelphia Gas Works 706
RG&E 663 Penn Power 664 South Jersey Gas Company 700
Eversource 652 Jersey Central Power & Light 656 Elizabethtown Gas 692
NYSEG 629 Appalachian Power 651 Columbia Gas–East 670
Monongahela Power 647
PSEG Long Island 647
Met-Ed 641
Potomac Edison 627
Central Maine Power 548
Scoring based upon 1,000-point maximum scale

 

Midwest Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Combination Service
(Electric and Natural Gas)
Electric Service Natural Gas Service
DTE Energy 746 AEP Ohio 706 Peoples Gas 725
Black Hills Energy–Midwest 739 Dayton Power & Light 704 SEMCO Energy Gas Company 717
Xcel Energy–Midwest 718 OPPD 695 Citizens Energy 711
MidAmerican Energy 718 ComEd 687 CenterPoint Energy–Midwest 705
Ameren Illinois 714 Toledo Edison 679 Columbia Gas of Ohio 700
Duke Energy Midwest 714 Ohio Edison 676 Nicor Gas 699
We Energies 697 Indiana Michigan Power 671 Atmos Energy – Midwest 690
Consumers Energy 690 The Illuminating Company 665 Kansas Gas Service 687
NIPSCO 690 Indianapolis Power & Light 659 Dominion Energy Ohio 685
Wisconsin Public Service 685 Westar Energy 654 Spire Missouri–East 671
Vectren 680 KCP&L 649 Spire Missouri–West 642
Alliant Energy 661 Ameren Missouri 629
Scoring based upon 1,000-point maximum scale

 

South Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Combination Service
(Electric and Natural Gas)
Electric Service Natural Gas Service
CPS Energy 703 OUC 745 TECO Peoples Gas 762
Louisville Gas & Electric 667 Georgia Power 729 Piedmont Natural Gas 745
SCE&G 624 Florida Power & Light 727 CenterPoint Energy–South 739
MLGW 614 Southwestern Electric Power Company 727 Texas Gas Service 735
Alabama Power 720 PSNC Energy 728
Gulf Power 716 Columbia Gas–South 723
Nashville Electric Service 715 Spire Mississippi 721
Entergy Texas 711 Oklahoma Natural Gas 715
JEA 705 Atmos Energy–South 712
Entergy Mississippi 703 Virginia Natural Gas 711
Xcel Energy–South 703 Florida City Gas Company 704
Kentucky Utilities 702 Spire South 700
OG&E 699 Chattanooga Gas Company 688
Mississippi Power 695 Spire Gulf Coast 610
TECO Tampa Electric 690
Entergy Louisiana 689
Public Service Company of Oklahoma 687
Dominion Energy Virginia 677
Entergy Arkansas 676
Duke Energy Progress 674
Duke Energy Carolinas 673
El Paso Electric 657
Austin Energy 650
Duke Energy Florida 648
Entergy New Orleans 642
Kentucky Power 609
Scoring based upon 1,000-point maximum scale

 

West Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Combination Service
(Electric and Natural Gas)
Electric Service Natural Gas Service
Puget Sound Energy 700 SMUD 728 NW Natural 744
Avista 694 Salt River Project 716 Cascade Natural Gas 714
Xcel Energy–West 685 Tucson Electric Power 708 Southwest Gas 713
NorthWestern Energy 641 Idaho Power 707 Dominion Energy–West 700
PG&E 641 Portland General Electric 704 Intermountain Gas Company 693
SDG&E 640 Southern California Edison 688 SoCalGas 691
Black Hills Energy–West 613 Rocky Mountain Power 678 New Mexico Gas Company 671
Pacific Power 673
NV Energy 671
Seattle City Light 668
PNM 647
APS 639
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 635
Scoring based upon 1,000-point maximum scale

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 62,122 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 for more on the full report.

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