This special interest group is where customer care professionals share tactics on how utilities are improving interactions with their customers. 

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What are customers saying about your utility?

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Nevelyn Black's picture
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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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“Their cost is always high no matter what time of year or season we are in,” Charleston, of Hopewell, Va., wrote about Dominion resources.  Patty, a First Energy customer in Pittsburgh said, “Every time I pay my bill it never seems to go down, it increases every month. Tried to get help but no one ever responds to my phone calls.”  Comments like these make you wonder, what are customers saying about your utility?  U.S. inflation is likely to reach a 39-year high, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The high price of goods and services coupled with shortages and supply chain disruptions is only making matters worse.   “There are three factors that we’re watching,’ said Eva Ados, chief investment strategist of ERShares, “The costs associated with labor — which is the most important to us — food prices, and of course energy.”  Energy prices have been a key contributor to the overall CPI and were up by more than 29 percent on a year-over-year basis in December. With the acceleration of inflation and the impact it has on energy, customers are struggling to pay utility bills. 

How should providers respond? Empowering customers, that may otherwise feel helpless, is one way to improve customer satisfaction. Utilities are allowing consumers to take control, change behavior and lower their own energy costs.  As part of a new National Grid plan, in the UK, households will get credit on their energy bills by limiting their energy consumption during peak hours this winter.  The energy companies’ financial incentive comes just days after energy regulator, Ofgem, announced a 54 percent increase to its energy price cap.  This will result in an average increase of £693 per household for energy through April 1. Isabelle Haigh of National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) said: “Encouraging households to engage in exciting climate-friendly energy opportunities like this trial will be crucial in our transition to net zero.”  

No doubt, the financial incentive will add to customer satisfaction once people begin to see lower rates or credits on their bill.  This is a much needed boosts after a survey of utility company customers by J.D. Power revealed a drop in customer satisfaction.  While specific reasons for the decrease may vary, the study points toward under-publicizing community initiatives.  “In today’s roller-coaster economic environment, electric utility providers need to not only increase their efforts to help their local economies but also communicate more effectively about utility programs and activities,” said John Hazen, managing director of the utility practice at J.D. Power. “Utility customers want to hear about these efforts and, when they do, overall satisfaction is higher. Promoting economic development efforts can increase overall satisfaction by as much as 122 points.”

Energy providers and utility companies render reliability but customers expect more.  How is your utility empowering customers to become more energy efficient, reduce consumption and deal with the rising costs of energy? 

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