Customer satisfaction on the increase


Westlake Village, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 28, 2007 – As utility companies educate customers about conservation, customer satisfaction with price and value increases, according to a recently released report by J.D. Power and Associates Reports. This is despite the fact that customers report paying the same amount for their gas bills in 2007 compared with 2006.

The J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study(SM) released recently measures residential customer satisfaction with gas utility companies across six factors: company image, communications, price and value, billing and payment, customer service and field service.

The study finds that average reported bill amounts have remained stable since 2006, averaging $108 in 2007, and up $4 from 2006.

The study also finds that among customers who say they recall receiving a communication from their utility company in 2007, 54 per cent say that the communication related to an energy conservation or energy efficiency topic – an increase from 47 per cent in 2006. Customers who say they received at least one of these communications also provide satisfaction scores for the price and value factor that are 71 points higher on a 1,000-point scale, on average, than customers who don’t have this recollection. In addition, customers who recall receiving energy conservation information from their utility report increased satisfaction with their utility company’s concern for the environment and commitment to the local community.

"Helping customers manage their energy costs by educating them about lowering their consumption adds considerable value to the relationship a gas utility has with its customers," said Alan Destribats, senior vice president of the energy practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "It not only helps customers manage their bills, but also reflects a utility’s concern for the environment and its leadership in the local communities it serves."

Overall gas utility residential customer satisfaction remained stable at 626 in 2007, up slightly from 623 in 2006.

The study results are based on more than 25,000 online interviews conducted between September 2006 and July 2007 among residential customers of the 59 largest electric utilities across the continental United States. These utilities serve more than 47 million households.

CPS Energy, MidAmerican Energy, Northwest Natural and UGI Utilities rank highest in residential natural gas utility customer satisfaction.