Trust in Utilities Reaches All-Time High During COVID-19

June 23, 2020

44 Utilities named Most Trusted Brands

Customer trust in utilities has hit a historic high due to the industry’s effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the Cogent Syndicated Brand Trust Index posts a record high score of 696 (on a 1,000-point scale), with 44 utilities being named the 2020 Most Trusted Brands, having scored highest on the Brand Trust Index among the 140 utilities surveyed. These and other findings are from the 2020 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

The Brand Trust Index is a composite score of utility performance on customer focus, community support, communications effectiveness, reliable quality, environmental dedication and reputation. Although customer trust in utilities had been increasing before the pandemic, the industry’s effective response to COVID-19 accelerated this trend. Customers rate the industry a very high 7.20 (on a 10-point scale) when asked how responsibly their utility responded to the COVID-19 crisis. The more responsive a utility was to COVID-19, the more trust customers place in them. And half of utility customers “strongly agree” their utility responded well to the pandemic.

“It is clear from our research the utility industry has done a fantastic job supporting customers through the pandemic. This has won utilities the trust and goodwill of their customers,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “The utility industry is used to handling crises and quickly provided customer support. Awareness of utility COVID-19 efforts was supported by higher communications recall, the high quality of customer service interactions, and providing more value-added recommendations during service.”

Escalent would like to congratulate the 2020 Most Trusted Utility Brands that have supported their customers through an unprecedented crisis and have built goodwill and leadership in their communities.

Cogent Syndicated 2020 Most Trusted Utility Brands
Ameren Illinois NW Natural
Black Hills Energy – Midwest OUC
Cascade Natural Gas Peoples Gas
CenterPoint Energy – South Pepco
Columbia Gas – South Philadelphia Gas Works
Columbia Gas of Ohio Piedmont Natural Gas
CPS Energy PPL Electric Utilities
Dayton Power & Light PSE&G
Delmarva Power Puget Sound Energy
DTE Energy RG&E
Duke Energy Midwest Salt River Project
Duquesne Light Company Seattle City Light
Elizabethtown Gas TECO Peoples Gas
Florida City Gas Company Texas Gas Service
Florida Power & Light UGI Utilities
Idaho Power Washington Gas
Kentucky Utilities Wisconsin Public Service
MidAmerican Energy Xcel Energy – Midwest
National Fuel Gas Xcel Energy – South
New Jersey Natural Gas Xcel Energy – West


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
PSE&G 717 PPL Electric Utilities 719 Washington Gas 738
RG&E 712 Duquesne Light Company 705 Philadelphia Gas Works 728
Delmarva Power 711 Pepco 700 Elizabethtown Gas 727
BGE 698 Penelec 698 New Jersey Natural Gas 726
Con Edison 693 Green Mountain Power 693 UGI Utilities 725
PECO 691 Atlantic City Electric 684 National Fuel Gas 724
National Grid 683 Penn Power 677 South Jersey Gas Company 703
Eversource 681 West Penn Power 674 Peoples 689
NYSEG 678 PSEG Long Island 671 Columbia Gas – East 659
Met-Ed 669
Appalachian Power 659
Mon Power 658
Potomac Edison 647
Jersey Central Power & Light 644
Central Maine Power 556
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
Black Hills Energy – Midwest 718 AEP Ohio 724 Columbia Gas of Ohio 747
MidAmerican Energy 714 Dayton Power & Light 718 Peoples Gas 733
DTE Energy 713 OPPD 714 CenterPoint Energy – Midwest 721
Xcel Energy – Midwest 707 ComEd 701 Nicor Gas 700
Ameren Illinois 705 Ameren Missouri 698 Dominion Energy Ohio 698
Wisconsin Public Service 704 Toledo Edison 689 Spire Missouri – East 689
NIPSCO 702 Ohio Edison 672 Kansas Gas Service 684
Duke Energy Midwest 699 Indianapolis Power & Light 662 Citizens Energy 671
Consumers Energy 687 Evergy 659 Atmos Energy – Midwest 670
We Energies 678 Indiana Michigan Power 659 Spire Missouri – West 666
Alliant Energy 671 The Illuminating Company 655
Vectren 655
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 715 OUC 752 TECO Peoples Gas 784
Louisville Gas & Electric 689 Kentucky Utilities 751 Columbia Gas – South 757
Dominion Energy South Carolina 659 Xcel Energy – South 734 Piedmont Natural Gas 750
MLGW 633 Florida Power & Light 732 Florida City Gas Company 739
Nashville Electric Service 717 Texas Gas Service 735
Georgia Power 716 CenterPoint Energy – South 734
TECO Tampa Electric 710 Atmos Energy – South 728
Public Service Company of Oklahoma 708 Oklahoma Natural Gas 726
OG&E 707 Virginia Natural Gas 725
Southwestern Electric Power Company 707 Chattanooga Gas Company 712
Entergy Mississippi 700 Spire South 708
Mississippi Power 699 Dominion Energy North Carolina 696
JEA 697 Spire Mississippi 674
Entergy Louisiana 696 Spire Gulf Coast 636
Dominion Energy Virginia 694
Alabama Power 694
Entergy Arkansas 687
Entergy Texas 685
Gulf Power 681
Duke Energy Carolinas 680
Duke Energy Florida 675
El Paso Electric 674
Austin Energy 671
Duke Energy Progress 662
Entergy New Orleans 648
Kentucky Power 621
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
Xcel Energy – West 719 Idaho Power 727 NW Natural 766
Puget Sound Energy 699 Seattle City Light 723 Cascade Natural Gas 748
Avista 692 Salt River Project 721 SoCalGas 732
NorthWestern Energy 689 SMUD 699 Intermountain Gas Company 730
SDG&E 685 Portland General Electric 693 Southwest Gas 725
Black Hills Energy – West 604 Tucson Electric Power 685 Dominion Energy – West 708
PG&E 579 Southern California Edison 682 New Mexico Gas Company 680
NV Energy 681
Pacific Power 680
Rocky Mountain Power 678
PNM 665
Los Angeles Department of
Water & Power
APS 634
Scoring based upon 1,000-point maximum scale


About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 70,438 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.

Click below for more information on the study.

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