As energy technology continues to evolve, residential customers are becoming more content with the service they receive from electric utilities. The 2017 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, released by J.D. Power on July 12, saw an overall increase in customer satisfaction with residential electric utility companies for the sixth straight year.
On a 1,000-point scale, overall customer satisfaction currently averages 719, representing a 39-point improvement over last year’s study. J.D. Power identifies two major factors contributing to this positive trend: an increase in accessible power outage information, and higher price satisfaction. Satisfaction with power quality and reliability currently score an impressive 767, and while price satisfaction sits at 659. These factors represent an improvement of 39 points and 48 points, respectively.
According to J.D. Power, the increase in price satisfaction is tied to higher ratings for ease of understanding pricing, total monthly cost and fairness of pricing. Generally, more customers seem to understand what they are paying for, and why they are paying the amount they are.
“The utility industry has begun to fully understand the importance of customer satisfaction over the past several years, and now many have dedicated leaders and teams focused on improving the customer experience,” said John Hazen, senior director of the energy practice, J.D. Power. “A challenge we continue to see, however, is that the pace of implementing satisfaction improvements can be slower than in other industries.”
In terms of power outage information, the study reports that 66 percent of utility customers are now receiving critical information during an outage. This information can include the cause, the number of customers effected and estimates on when power will be restored. Among those who do not receive this information, the overall satisfaction factor is 683, which is significantly smaller than the overall number.
The study also found that more utilities are emphasizing electronic bill pay, paperless communications, and mobile-friendly websites, all of which result in greater customer satisfaction.
The study is in its 19th year, and is based on responses from 99,145 online interviews with utility customers. For more information, including regional rankings of the utilities with the highest customer satisfaction ratings, visit http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/jd-power-2017-electric-utility-residential-customer-satisfaction-study.