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    Utility Customers Want More Communication in Times of Disruption

    June 21, 2022 - 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 to see how we are helping shape the brands that are reshaping the world.

       Contact Sarah Keller, 734.779.6847

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      Source: Escalent, Inc.


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