Due to the industry’s effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, customer trust in utilities – including a number of public power utilities -- has reached an historic high, according to a recent survey.
The Cogent Syndicated Brand Trust Index posted a record high score of 696 (on a 1,000-point scale), with 44 utilities being named the 2020 Most Trusted Brands, having scored highest on the Brand Trust Index among the 140 utilities that were surveyed.
The Brand Trust Index is a composite score of utility performance on customer focus, community support, communications effectiveness, reliable quality, environmental dedication and reputation.
Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm, conducted surveys among 70,438 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 largest US utility companies based on residential customer counts.
While customer trust in utilities had been increasing before the pandemic, the industry’s effective response to COVID-19 accelerated the trend.
Customers rated the industry a high 7.2 (on a 10-point scale) when asked how responsibly their utility responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Half of utility customers “strongly agree” their utility responded well to the pandemic.
A number of public power utilities are included among the group of most trusted utility brands:
- CPS Energy, San Antonio, Texas
- Orlando Utilities Commission, Orlando, Florida
- Salt River Project, Tempe, Arizona
- Seattle City Light, Seattle, Washington
- OPPD, Nebraska
The following information reflects regional peer benchmark Brand Trust scores among the 140 utilities surveyed. The scores reflect the amount of trust customers have with each utility. Scoring is based upon a 1,000-point maximum scale. (The regional breakouts include non-public power utilities, which are not listed).
South Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Combination Service (electric and natural gas - total of four entities)
- CPS Energy, San Antonio, Texas (715) (#1)
- MLGW (633) #4
Electric Service (total of 26 utilities)
- Orlando Utilities Commission, Orlando, Florida (752) (#1)
- Nashville Electric Service, Nashville, Tennessee (717) (#5)
- JEA, Jackson, Florida (697) (#13)
- Austin Energy (671) (#23)
Midwest Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
Electric Service (total of 11 utilities)
- OPPD (714) #3
West Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance
- Seattle City Light (723) #2
- Salt River Project (721) #3
- SMUD (699) #4
- Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (658) #12
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