Public Power Utilities Among Highest Ranked in J.D. Power Business Customer Satisfaction Study

January 27, 2016

Press Release

Washington D.C., January 27, 2016—Four public power utilities are among the eight electric utilities ranked highest in the J.D. Power 2016 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study.

The following public power utilities rank highest in business customer satisfaction in their size category in their regions:

  • Midwest Midsize: Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), Nebraska
  • South Midsize: JEA, Jacksonville, Florida
  • West Large: Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona
  • West Midsize: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), California

“Public power utilities are absolutely committed to providing reliable electric service at reasonable cost—and that is what business customers need. The public power utilities that have won the J.D. Power honors all exemplify this excellence in customer service,” said APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly.

She noted that public power utilities provide reasonably-priced, reliable electricity service to 1 in 7 U.S. customers, while practicing good environmental stewardship. These not-for-profit, “homegrown” utilities are focused solely on developing their communities and meeting the needs of business and residential customers.

The J.D. Power survey, now in its 17th year, measures satisfaction among business customers of U.S. electric utilities, each of which serves more than 25,000 business customers. Overall satisfaction is examined across six factors: power quality and reliability, corporate citizenship, price, billing and payment, communications, and customer service. In 2016, overall satisfaction among electric utility business customers has risen to the highest level in eight years, driven primarily by satisfaction with communications, corporate citizenship, and price, according to J.D. Power.

What are the public power utilities recognized by J.D. Power doing to improve customer satisfaction?

OPPD supported business customers in making their own energy choices, including energy efficiency applications, and new energy sources like wind and solar. OPPD has ten account executives who work 24/7 with key business customers. The utility provides annual energy reviews and works on economic development issues with these customers. OPPD also has electrical service designers who support small commercial customers from start to finish with electrical projects.

JEA improved electric reliability, reducing outages by more than 70 percent. The utility issued two fuel credits to customers in 2015, helping to drive down utility costs. JEA awarded over $850,000 in rebates to businesses in the community for energy efficiency improvements. The utility developed new rate options to support business expansion and relocation. Employees did volunteer work in the community.

J.D. Power specifically commended the highest ranking utilities for providing more timely and improved information about power outages and the restoration of electric service. SRP has introduced new tools to help business businesses stay informed if an outage occurs. The utility provides detailed power outage information via online and mobile friendly maps. It also sends power outage notifications and weather alerts to customers via email and text.

In mid-2015, the SMUD Customer Solutions Department implemented a commercial and industrial customer strategic plan that included an aggressive staff training program to engage key customers. SMUD then extended customer engagement efforts from approximately 800 assigned accounts to 7,500 commercial and industrial customers. Account representatives now serve as trusted energy advisors to their assigned commercial customers.