Overall satisfaction among electric utility business customers has decreased 10 points from 2012, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
The J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study found business customer satisfaction averages 647 on a 1,000-point scale.
The study is based on interviews with representatives of more than 25,700 US businesses that spend at least $250 monthly on electricity. More than 90 utility brands serving a total of more than 11.7 million business customers are included in the study.
Overall customer satisfaction is measured by examining six factors: power quality and reliability, billing and payment, corporate citizenship, price, communications and customer service.
Satisfaction decreases in all factors except communications, which increases by four points year over year. The largest decreases in satisfaction are in customer service (down 18 points), corporate citizenship (down 18 points), and billing and payment (down 15 points).
However, the study says electric utility companies are demonstrating new ways to ensure open lines of communication with their customers by offering service outage updates via text messaging, social media and email, which yield significantly higher satisfaction levels than any other outage communication type.
In addition to providing information through multiple channels, electric utility companies are also proactively communicating with their business customers during outages, which positively impacts satisfaction as well. Power quality and reliability satisfaction among the 11 percent of business customers that received proactive communications from their utility during an outage is 754, compared with 654 among those who received no communications from their utility.
Within each of the four geographic regions included in the study, utility providers are classified into one of two segments: large (serving 85,000 or more business customers) and midsize (serving between 25,000 and 84,999 business customers).
Rankings within each region and segment are as follows:
PPL Electric Utilities ranks highest among large electric utility providers in the East Region with a score of 664. Among midsize electric utilities in the East Region, Central Maine Power (654) ranks highest for the second consecutive year.
In the Midwest Region, We Energies (669) ranks highest among large electric utilities, while Indianapolis Power & Light Company ranks highest among midsize brands with a score of 676.
Georgia Power (695) ranks highest among large utilities in the South Region. Among midsize electric utilities, Entergy Texas ranks highest with a score of 687.
Portland General Electric (694) ranks highest among large electric utilities in the West Region. Among midsize electric utility providers, Seattle City Light ranks highest (689).