J.D. Power and Associates Reports:
Decreases in Power Quality and Price Satisfaction among Residential Electric Utility Customers Are Mitigated by Steady Operational Improvements
Majority of U.S. Electric Utility Customers Support Nuclear Energy, Even after Japan Crisis
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 13 July 2011 — 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 StudySM released today.
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.
Residential customer satisfaction with electric utility companies averages 628 on a 1,000-point scale in 2011—a slight decrease from 630 in 2010. 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, 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.
"Operational improvements have helped electric utilities counterbalance the negative effects of weather and economic storms on overall satisfaction,” said Chris Oberle, senior director of the energy and utility practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “In particular, utilities have made great strides in improving their customer communications and their billing and payment processes, both of which are crucial to elevating satisfaction.”
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 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.
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 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.
Additional Study Findings
The study also includes the following key findings about the attitudes of electric residential utility customers toward nuclear energy:
- 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 percent of these customers supporting building nuclear power plants domestically.
- Support of nuclear power is high—averaging nearly 70 percent—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.
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 United States, which collectively represent more than 93 million households.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. With leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.