Poll: Choices on Rates Help Build Utility-Business Customer Relationships

Utilities have strengthened their relationships with their business customers to a record high score of 780 on a 1,000-point scale, partly because they are offering choices on rates, according to survey results released on December 14 by Market Strategies International (MSI).

The poll, Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Commercial, found “a significant 32-point increase over 2015,” according to the researchers. The web-based survey was conducted among commercial electric utility customers of the 59 largest US utility companies (based on commercial customer counts),

The fuel for this growth was an increase in engaged customer relationships among unmanaged accounts – those business customers not assigned a utility account manager. These accounts now score 776, up 34 points from last year.

Managed business accounts continue to score higher at 789. Customers with key account managers also score significantly higher on brand trust, indicating the relationship value account managers have developed with these businesses.

Among the utilities that scored highest on customer engagement were: NYSEG (852 points), Pacific Power (831), Georgia Power (829), Duke Energy Florida (820), Dominion Virginia (816), Ameren Illinois (814), MidAmerican Energy (810), Idaho Power (809), Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (807), AEP SWEPCO (804),  CPS Energy (804), Con Edison (803), KCP&L (803),and National Grid (802).

“Utilities deserve a lot of credit for building strong relationships with businesses that drive local economies,” said MSI SVP Chris Oberle. “This year’s Customer Champions are strengthening engagement with unmanaged account customers by offering them choices on rates, demand-side management programs, energy management tools, distributed energy and other offerings.”

The Cogent Reports division of MSI conducted surveys among 9,429 business electric and combination utility customers . Utilities were given equal weights, in order to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results.

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