Utility Business Customers Looking for Leadership in the Energy Transition

December 22, 2022

Escalent Names 15 Utilities as 2022 Business Customer Champions

A new Cogent Syndicated study from Escalent underscores how important it is for utilities to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. After reaching a peak in 2021, the industry Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) Index among business customers dropped a significant eight points to 778 (on a 1,000-point maximum scale), with the decline largely attributed to customers feeling less certain that utilities are committed to using environmentally friendly energy. Escalent’s ECR Index is a comprehensive customer relationship measurement used by utility management to assess customer engagement.

Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business tracks the performance of 82 gas, electric and combination utilities to identify brand and customer experience opportunities and trends in the industry. The study is published semiannually by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm with extensive energy and utility experience.

The majority (81%) of businesses have energy-related plans (e.g., sustainability plans, climate plans, and/or emergency response/business continuity plans) in place, and these same businesses have the greatest decline in ECR. The decline in ECR, led by environmental perceptions, indicate that these energy-conscious businesses are increasingly concerned about whether their utility is in lock-step with them on improving environmental performance.

“Leadership during the energy transition is becoming table stakes for business customers, as they are making it clear that environmental performance is increasingly important to them,” said K.C. Boyce, vice president at Escalent. “And while they aren’t necessarily naming ‘leadership through the energy transition’ as an important brand trait for utilities, their perceptions and behaviors such as increased preference for non-utility providers of energy products and services indicate they certainly expect leadership to occur.”

While overall the industry ECR is declining, the 15 Business Customer Champion utilities recognized today have seen increases in engagement from last year. These utilities are effectively talking to their customers about a number of things, including renewable and green energy. The customers of these top-performing utilities view them as significantly more committed to using environmentally friendly energy (+0.41 on a 0-to-10-point scale vs. the industry average) and being committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels (+0.50 vs. the average).

Today, Escalent is pleased to name 15 utilities as 2022 Business Customer Champions.

Escalent 2022 Business Customer Champions
Ameren Illinois Georgia Power
BGE MidAmerican Energy
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest Puget Sound Energy
CenterPoint Energy – South Salt River Project
Con Edison Seattle City Light
Consumers Energy We Energies
Duke Energy Midwest Xcel Energy Colorado
Florida Power & Light

* Utilities named as Business Customer Champions are selected based on having Engaged Customer Relationship Index scores in the top decile of the industry, the top score within their respective benchmark segment, or an Engaged Customer Relationship Index score within 20 points of the top benchmark segment score and above the industry average.


EAST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name ECR score
Con Edison 828
BGE 818
PECO Energy 799
PSE&G 798
National Grid 783
Jersey Central Power & Light 781
PSEG Long Island 772
Eversource Energy 770
Penelec 769
PPL Electric Utilities 766
Duquesne Light 755
West Penn Power 743
Appalachian Power 711


MIDWEST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name ECR score
We Energies 814
Consumers Energy 808
MidAmerican Energy 804
Duke Energy Midwest 803
Ameren Illinois 796
AES Indiana 785
Ameren Missouri 785
Evergy 783
DTE Energy 782
The Illuminating Company 779
Ohio Edison 773
ComEd 770
Xcel Energy – Midwest 765
Indiana Michigan Power 763
Wisconsin Public Service 758
Alliant Energy 755
AEP Ohio 755
AES Ohio 745
OPPD 732


SOUTH REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name ECR score
Florida Power & Light 813
Georgia Power 799
TECO Tampa Electric 789
Mississippi Power 789
Dominion Energy South Carolina 787
Duke Energy Carolinas 787
Duke Energy Florida 783
Kentucky Utilities 778
CPS Energy 776
Public Service Company of Oklahoma 775
OG&E 775
Duke Energy Progress 773
Dominion Energy Virginia 768
Alabama Power 767
El Paso Electric 763
JEA 751
Entergy 751
Southwestern Electric Power Company 749
Louisville Gas & Electric 730
FPL Northwest FL 726


WEST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name ECR score
Seattle City Light 847
Puget Sound Energy 829
Salt River Project 829
Xcel Energy Colorado 823
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 813
Pacific Power 797
SMUD 793
APS 793
NorthWestern Energy 783
Rocky Mountain Power 782
NV Energy 777
Southern California Edison 770
PG&E 769
SDG&E 755
Portland General Electric 755
PNM 751
Idaho Power 730
Colorado Springs Utilities 716


NATURAL GAS UTILITIES: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name ECR score
CenterPoint Energy – South 816
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest 802
Dominion Energy North Carolina 791
Dominion Energy Ohio 788
Dominion Energy West 782
Virginia Natural Gas 779
Nicor Gas 773
Chattanooga Gas Company 765

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business

Escalent conducted surveys among 18,035 business electric and natural gas utility customers of 82 US utility companies. Utilities within the same region are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. The Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) Index is a composite score based upon a 360-degree customer review of how engaged businesses are with their energy utility provider. Scores are composed of ratings across service satisfaction, brand and product experiences. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

For more information about the report, click below.

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