Business customer satisfaction with electric utilities at new highs


Alan Destribats,
VP of Energy Utility
Practice, J.D. Power
Westlake Village, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 28, 2008 – Continuing a steady upward trend since 2004, business customer satisfaction with electric utility providers has reached record high levels, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study released recently. The study’s nationwide customer satisfaction index has increased from 690 points on a 1,000-point scale in 2007 to 697 in 2008.

The study is based on interviews with representatives of more than 13,500 U.S. businesses that spend between $500 and $50,000 monthly on electricity. Overall customer satisfaction is measured through six factors: power quality and reliability; customer service; company image; billing and payment; price; and communications. Businesses served by the 58 largest electric utilities in the United States report improvements in four of the six factors in 2008, with customer service and billing and payment factors registering the largest increases. Ratings for power quality and reliability and communications factors have also increased, while company image and price ratings have remained flat.

"Across the industry, utilities have made substantial gains in customer service and billing," said Alan Destribats, vice president of the energy utility practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "For example, providing a wide variety of payment options, giving customers electronic copies of billing statements and making customer service available 24 hours a day through utility Web sites are all particularly satisfying to business customers."

The highest scoring utility was Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) which improved by 15 points over 2007. “ SMUD leads the study in several key performance areas, with business customers reporting particularly high rates of outage call-backs, receipt of electronic billing statements, contact with members of the utility’s senior management and awareness of SMUD’s energy conservation and efficiency programs," said Destribats.