Although residential electric utility customers are less satisfied with power quality, reliability and price than in 2010, improvements in operational-related aspects have largely mitigated the negative effects on overall satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. Residential customer satisfaction with electric utility companies averages 628 on a 1,000-point scale in 2011, which is a slight decrease from 630 in 2010.
Quality, Price Satisfaction Slightly Decline
The two most important factors contributing to satisfaction, power quality and reliability and price, have declined from 2010 by five and eight points, respectively. However, J.D. Power analysis indicates satisfaction with other factors has been steadily increasing. In particular, the communications and corporate citizenship factors have achieved the greatest gains in 2011, each improving by six points from 2010. These areas have also improved significantly between 2009 and 2011, increasing by 21 and 16 points, respectively.
The study measures customer satisfaction with electric utility companies by examining six key factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service.
Central ME Power, Southern MD Electric Coop Excel in East
The study ranks large and midsize utility companies in four geographic regions: East, Midwest, South and West. Companies in the midsize utility segments serve between 125,000 and 499,999 residential customers, while companies in the large utility segment serve 500,000 or more residential customers.
Among large utilities in the East region, Central Maine Power ranks highest for a fourth consecutive year. Following in the segment rankings are PPL Electric Utilities and New York State Electric & Gas, respectively.
In the East region midsize utility segment, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative ranks highest for a fourth consecutive year, followed by Penn Power and Central Vermont Public Service, respectively.
MidAmerican Energy, Omaha Power Win in West
MidAmerican Energy ranks highest among large utility companies in the Midwest region for a fourth consecutive year. Xcel Energy–Midwest follows MidAmerican Energy, while KCP&L ranks third in the segment.
Omaha Public Power District ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the Midwest region for a fourth consecutive year and receives an award in the study for an 11th consecutive year. Following Omaha Public Power District in the segment are Indianapolis Power and Light and Kentucky Utilities, respectively.
OK Gas and Electric, Jackson EMC Succeed in South
Oklahoma Gas and Electric ranks highest among large utility companies in the South region. Following Oklahoma Gas and Electric in the rankings are CPS Energy and Progress Energy Carolinas, respectively.
Jackson EMC ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the South region for a second consecutive year, followed by Santee Cooper and NOVEC, respectively.
Salt River Project, Clark Public Utilities Win West
Salt River Project ranks highest among large utility companies in the West region for a fourth consecutive year and receives an award in the study for a 10th consecutive year. Following Salt River Project in the segment rankings are Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Portland General Electric, respectively.
Clark Public Utilities ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the West region for a fourth consecutive year, followed by Snohomish County PUD and Colorado Springs Utilities, respectively.
More than Half of Residential Utility Customers Support Nukes
The study also finds that more than one-half of customers (57%) indicate they support building nuclear power plants in the U.S. This percentage is even higher among customers who say they are aware of the recent nuclear crisis in Japan, with 60% of these customers supporting building nuclear power plants domestically.
Support of nuclear power is even higher, averaging nearly 70%, among customers who indicate a nuclear power plant is located in or close to their community (within a 50-mile radius). Three-fourths of customers say that lowering the country’s dependence on foreign oil is the primary benefit of nuclear power.
Outages Affect Biz Utility Customer Satisfaction
When power outages occur, providing business customers with accurate estimates of power restoration times are critical to maintaining customer satisfaction, according to a February 2011 J.D. Power study. Among customers who experience a power outage, satisfaction with power quality and reliability averages 729 (on a 1,000-point scale) when power is restored by the time estimated by the electric provider. However, if power restoration occurs after the estimated time, satisfaction declines to an average of 576, a difference of more than 150 points.
About the Data: The 2011 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 98,000 online interviews conducted from July 2010 through May 2011 among residential customers of the 124 largest electric utility brands across the US, which collectively represent more than 93 million households. J.D. Power & Associates published the study, which is the source of the enclosed chart.