Business customer satisfaction for electric utilities rises – report


J.D Power has released its 2019 edition of the Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study.

According to the study, the overall business customer satisfaction with electric utilities has climbed significantly this year.

Overall satisfaction has increased 18 points (on a 1,000-point scale), but the gap between the highest- and lowest-performing individual utility has increased to a 13-year high of 192 points.

Key study highlights:

  • Business customer satisfaction surges: Overall business customer satisfaction with electric utilities is 779, up 18 points from 2018, driven largely by improvements in communication and price. Proactive communication about power outages and estimated restoration times have played a key role in this increase, with overall satisfaction increasing 24 points when customers are alerted to an outage.
  • Awareness for infrastructure maintenance efforts boosts satisfaction: Business customer satisfaction is 197 points higher when customers perceive their utility makes efforts to maintain their current infrastructure vs. those that are either unaware or perceive their utility does no maintenance. Amid continued global media attention on the recent Northern California wildfires, awareness regarding infrastructure maintenance is lowest among customers in the Western region of the United States.
  • Environmental initiatives generate low awareness—but the positive effect—on customer perception: Less than half of business customers of electric utilities are aware of their utility provider’s efforts to improve their influence on the environment (44%) or protect and restore native fish and wildlife (30%). Yet when customers are aware of both environmental initiatives, it is associated with a 200-point increase in the utility’s corporate citizenship satisfaction score.
  • Business customers take advantage of utility online offerings: Nearly three-fourths (72%) of business customers have an online account with their utility. Customers who engage online are more likely to leverage alert offerings, with 90% saying they have signed up to receive alerts related to outages, weather and billing as compared with just 60% for those without an online account.

Customer engagement, experience and satisfaction are hot topics set for discussion at DISTRIBUTECH INTERNATIONAL. Click here to register to attend or for more information about the event.

Adrian Chung, Director, Utilities Intelligence at J.D. Power, said: “Electric utilities around the country have been ramping up their communications efforts, often addressing everything from mobile alerts about outages to updates on citizenship initiatives.

“Many top-performing utilities are getting that formula right, by visibly maintaining their infrastructure and leveraging technology to ensure businesses receive timely information needed to deal with outages and support decision-making. However, several utilities are still missing the mark by not focusing on these areas that drive customer satisfaction.”

For more information about the study, click here