72% of Customers Unaware of Utility’s Efforts to Increase General Safety

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif: 16 September 2015 — Customer satisfaction with residential gas utilities increases for a fourth consecutive year, reaching an all-time high, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today. 

The study, now in its 14th year, measures residential customer satisfaction with gas utility companies across six factors (in order of importance): billing & payment; price; corporate citizenship; communications; customer service; and field service. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale. 

To learn more about the 2015 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study,visit https://www.jdpower.com/resource/us-gas-utility-residential-customer-satisfaction-study 

Overall customer satisfaction with residential gas utilities has increased by 27 points to 671 from 644 in 2014, continuing an upward trend to an unprecedented level in the study’s history. Satisfaction improves across all factors, especially in price (+30 points) and corporate citizenship (+31) from 2014 (620 vs. 590 and 633 vs. 602, respectively). Stable low pricing and familiarity with conservation programs help drive satisfaction with price. In the corporate citizenship factor, satisfaction is driven by customer awareness of their utility’s efforts to support economic development in local communities; improve the impact on the environment; and foster public safety. 

Although safety awareness has steadily increased by 5 percentage points since 2013, the 2015 study finds there is room to improve, as 72 percent of customers are unaware of their utility’s efforts in this regard, and 67 percent indicate they want to hear more about safety. Carbon monoxide is one such topic of interest to customers, with only 4 percent of customers having heard how to avoid it and 33 percent wanting to hear more about it. 

“Safety is becoming increasingly important to customers, and they look to their utility to provide information that helps keep them safe when using and being around natural gas,” said Andrew Heath, director of the energy practice at J.D. Power. “The gas utility industry should ramp up its efforts to make sure more than just 28 percent of customers know about its endeavors to increase safety and to provide actionable advice to customers.” 

KEY FINDINGS 

  • Customer service satisfaction has steadily increased during the past three years in the phone and online channels (+30 points and +26 points, respectively).
  • The average reported monthly bill amount has decreased in 2015 to $80, down from $81 in 2014 but higher than in 2013 at $75.
  • Having an online account setup improves both customer service and billing & payment satisfaction. Customer service satisfaction is 52 points higher and billing & payment satisfaction is 43 points higher among customers who have an online setup, compared with those who don’t (779 vs. 727 and 766 vs. 723, respectively).

Study Rankings

The study ranks large and midsize utility companies in four geographic regions: East, Midwest, South and West. Companies in the midsize utility segment serve between 125,000 and 399,000 residential customers, and companies in the large utility segment serve 400,000 or more residential customers.

The following utilities rank highest in customer satisfaction in their respective region:

  • East Large: New Jersey Natural Gas                
  • East Midsize: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Elizabethtown Gas in a tie    
  • Midwest Large: MidAmerican Energy        
  • Midwest Midsize: Alliant Energy            
  • South Large: Oklahoma Natural Gas       
  • South Midsize: TECO Peoples Gas           
  • West Large: NW Natural              
  • West Midsize: Cascade Natural Gas               

The 2015 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on more than 66,000 responses from residential customers of 83 large and midsize gas utilities across the continental United States. The study was fielded between September 2014 and July 2015. 

Media Relations Contacts

Jeff Perlman; Brandware Public Relations; Woodland Hills, Calif.; 818 -317-3070; [email protected]

John Tews; J.D. Power; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218; [email protected] 

About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules https://www.jdpower.com/about/index.htm

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Media Contacts:

John Tews

Troy, Michigan

(248) 680-6218