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Utility Customers Want More Communication in Times of Disruption

  • Jun 21, 2022
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Source: 
GlobeNewswire

LIVONIA, Mich., June 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New data from Cogent Syndicated show that utilities who are spending more on customer communications and marketing are reaping the benefits. The utility industry Brand Trust Index is down significantly from last year, declining eight points to 698 on a 0-to-1,000 scale. However, Brand Trust among utilities who are communicating with customers about topics such as their efforts to keep rates low, community engagement, and programs remains high. Today, we name these 39 top utilities as the 2022 Most Trusted Brands.
 

Those are some of the latest findings of the 2022 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study, which tracks performance of 140 gas, electric and combination utilities to identify brand and customer experience opportunities and trends in the industry. The report is published semiannually by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm with extensive energy and utility experience.

Overall, utilities are communicating less with their customers, with the Communications Intensity Index, an indicator of per-customer spending, declining 9% year-over-year. That pullback on communication is being felt by customers, as communications recall about topics that customers care greatly about such as ways to lower energy consumption, safety, and programs has declined significantly. At the same time, recall of reliability-related messaging, such as storm preparation and outage/safety event, and rate change messaging has increased significantly. As a result, customers’ perception of the value they get from their utility took a big hit, leading to the industry Brand Trust decline.

“Brand Trust is paramount in maintaining healthy utility-customer relationships,” said K.C. Boyce, vice president of Escalent’s Energy division. “Proactively communicating with customers is going to become even more important as customers feel the impact of higher energy prices. With the median reported bill already increasing $5 from last year, customers are bracing for additional rate hikes.”

“Building a trusted brand by investing in communication and marketing channels gives utilities more control over their customer perceptions and helps create a new narrative about how their utility is helping in these uncertain economic times,” continued Boyce. “Today, we’re pleased to announce our 2022 Utility Most Trusted Brands, who despite the challenging times, have maintained high Brand Trust among their customers. They’ve done this, in part, by spending on average 24% more on customer communication and marketing than their industry peers.”

Escalent congratulates the 2022 Most Trusted Brands among utilities. These 39 utilities have developed industry-leading customer trust levels.

Cogent Syndicated 2022 Most Trusted Utility Brands*
 
AEP Ohio Duquesne Light Company Philadelphia Gas Works
Ameren Missouri Florida City Gas Company Piedmont Natural Gas
Atmos Energy – South Florida Power & Light PPL Electric Utilities
Avista Georgia Power PSE&G
BGE Green Mountain Power Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Black Hills Energy – Midwest Idaho Power Puget Sound Energy
Cascade Natural Gas Intermountain Gas Company RG&E
Chattanooga Gas Company Kentucky Utilities Salt River Project
Columbia Gas – South Mississippi Power SMUD
Columbia Gas of Ohio NW Natural TECO Peoples Gas
ComEd OPPD Washington Gas
Delmarva Power OUC Wisconsin Public Service
Dominion Energy South Carolina PECO Xcel Energy Colorado

* Utilities named as Most Trusted Brands are selected based on having Brand Trust Index scores in the top decile of the industry; top score within their respective benchmark segment; or having a Brand Trust Index score within 20 points of the top benchmark segment score and above the industry average.

The following tables reflect regional peer benchmark Brand Trust scores among the 140 utilities surveyed. These scores reflect the amount of trust customers have with each utility.

East Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance 
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
BGE Combination 730
Delmarva Power Combination 723
RG&E Combination 713
PSE&G Combination 713
PECO Combination 712
Con Edison Combination 701
National Grid Combination 695
Eversource Combination 648
NYSEG Combination 637
PPL Electric Utilities Electric 727
Green Mountain Power Electric 721
Duquesne Light Company Electric 710
Pepco Electric 701
West Penn Power Electric 692
Penn Power Electric 688
Penelec Electric 684
Met-Ed Electric 680
Atlantic City Electric Electric 677
Potomac Edison Electric 663
Mon Power Electric 654
Appalachian Power Electric 654
Jersey Central Power & Light Electric 645
PSEG Long Island Electric 630
Central Maine Power Electric 553
Philadelphia Gas Works Natural Gas 755
Washington Gas Natural Gas 737
New Jersey Natural Gas Natural Gas 734
Elizabethtown Gas Natural Gas 733
UGI Utilities Natural Gas 728
South Jersey Gas Company Natural Gas 719
National Fuel Gas Natural Gas 718
Peoples Natural Gas 707
Columbia Gas – East Natural Gas 694


 

Midwest Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
 
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
Black Hills Energy – Midwest Combination 756
Wisconsin Public Service Combination 737
MidAmerican Energy Combination 734
Montana-Dakota Utilities Combination 729
Consumers Energy Combination 725
Ameren Illinois Combination 709
Xcel Energy – Midwest Combination 706
We Energies Combination 701
NIPSCO Combination 699
DTE Energy Combination 689
Alliant Energy Combination 686
Duke Energy Midwest Combination 673
CenterPoint Energy Indiana Combination 542
AEP Ohio Electric 713
Ameren Missouri Electric 712
OPPD Electric 709
ComEd Electric 701
Indiana Michigan Power Electric 692
Toledo Edison Electric 676
Ohio Edison Electric 668
The Illuminating Company Electric 667
Evergy Electric 667
AES Ohio Electric 649
AES Indiana Electric 636
Columbia Gas of Ohio Natural Gas 741
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest Natural Gas 717
Nicor Gas Natural Gas 714
Spire Missouri – East Natural Gas 706
Peoples Gas Natural Gas 706
Atmos Energy – Midwest Natural Gas 703
Dominion Energy Ohio Natural Gas 698
Spire Missouri – West Natural Gas 695
Kansas Gas Service Natural Gas 688
Citizens Energy Natural Gas 680


 

South Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance    
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
Dominion Energy South Carolina Combination 691
Louisville Gas & Electric Combination 678
MLGW Combination 662
CPS Energy Combination 656
OUC Electric 749
Kentucky Utilities Electric 742
Georgia Power Electric 733
Florida Power & Light Electric 733
Public Service Company of Oklahoma Electric 730
Mississippi Power Electric 729
Duke Energy Progress Electric 720
TECO Tampa Electric Electric 718
Entergy Mississippi Electric 717
Dominion Energy Virginia Electric 702
Entergy Arkansas Electric 701
Alabama Power Electric 701
OG&E Electric 697
Nashville Electric Service Electric 697
Xcel Energy – South Electric 693
El Paso Electric Electric 683
JEA Electric 678
Duke Energy Carolinas Electric 677
Entergy Texas Electric 676
Duke Energy Florida Electric 674
Entergy Louisiana Electric 673
Southwestern Electric Power Company Electric 671
Austin Energy Electric 650
FPL Electric 643
Kentucky Power Electric 610
Entergy New Orleans Electric 590
Piedmont Natural Gas Natural Gas 778
Florida City Gas Company Natural Gas 770
TECO Peoples Gas Natural Gas 768
Columbia Gas – South Natural Gas 755
Atmos Energy – South Natural Gas 744
Chattanooga Gas Company Natural Gas 741
CenterPoint Energy – South Natural Gas 737
Texas Gas Service Natural Gas 733
Oklahoma Natural Gas Natural Gas 727
Spire Alabama Natural Gas 724
Virginia Natural Gas Natural Gas 722
Dominion Energy North Carolina Natural Gas 713
Spire Mississippi Natural Gas 711
Spire Gulf Coast Natural Gas 685
     
West Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance  
Utility brand name Service provided Brand Trust score
Puget Sound Energy Combination 714
Avista Combination 712
Xcel Energy Colorado Combination 708
NorthWestern Energy Combination 690
Colorado Springs Utilities Combination 685
SDG&E Combination 658
Black Hills Energy – West Combination 656
PG&E Combination 617
Idaho Power Electric 732
SMUD Electric 724
Salt River Project Electric 716
Seattle City Light Electric 707
NV Energy Electric 703
Portland General Electric Electric 698
Tucson Electric Power Electric 692
Pacific Power Electric 691
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Electric 681
Rocky Mountain Power Electric 671
Southern California Edison Electric 669
PNM Electric 660
APS Electric 654
NW Natural Natural Gas 758
Cascade Natural Gas Natural Gas 749
Intermountain Gas Company Natural Gas 745
Dominion Energy – West Natural Gas 719
SoCalGas Natural Gas 717
Southwest Gas Natural Gas 715
New Mexico Gas Company Natural Gas 708

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 79,529 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses a combination of quotas and weighting based on US census data to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. The Brand Trust index score is a composite based upon consumer ratings across six factors. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

About Escalent

Escalent is an award-winning advisory firm that helps clients understand human and market behaviors to navigate disruption and business transformation. As catalysts of progress for more than 40 years, our strategies guide the world’s leading brands. We accelerate growth by creating a seamless flow between primary, secondary, syndicated, and internal business data, providing consulting and advisory services from insights through implementation. Based on a profound understanding of what drives human beings and markets, we identify actions that build brands, enhance customer experiences, inspire product innovation and boost business productivity. Visit escalent.co to see how we are helping shape the brands that are reshaping the world.

 
 



  Contact Sarah Keller, 734.779.6847 sarah.keller@escalent.co

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Source: Escalent, Inc.

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