Utilities Rank Among Top Business Service Providers on Customer Engagement

Fifty-four percent of business customers are highly engaged with their electric and natural gas utilities, driving the industry’s Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) Index to an all-time high of 786 (on a 1,000-point maximum scale) for 2021. Escalent’s ECR Index is a comprehensive customer relationship measurement used by utility management to assess customer engagement. Among business customers, utilities now tie with other premier business service providers, such as primary banks, Google and Amazon, for having the most engaged relationships. This information is from the Cogent Syndicated 2021 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business study by top human behavior and analytics advisory firm Escalent.

Businesses elevated their engagement during the pandemic as they relied on utilities to support their local economies and customers. Utility outreach to local communities is leading to a spike in brand strength, as 58% of business customers say they are highly loyal to their utility. This growth in loyalty is providing a positive impact on utility profits, as half of businesses prefer to use their utility for consumption management and expanded energy-related offerings. In fact, 67% of businesses use a utility offering beyond basic service enhancements.

Despite this strong performance, the study finds that utilities still have to sharpen their focus on customer engagement, as most businesses say they are open to offers from other energy providers. One threat is that 30% of business customers are open to using a third party for alternative energy, such as community or rooftop solar.

“Since 91% of businesses are satisfied with utility service, management teams are now building value by expanding their goals to engaging customers across all touchpoints,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president, Escalent. “Greater outreach, innovative offerings and brand trust have led businesses to engage with their utility and they want to engage even more deeply. But businesses have also made it clear that if utilities don’t provide the value they seek beyond basic service, they will move to other providers who do.”

Escalent congratulates the 2021 Business Customer Champion utilities listed below, whose customer engagement positions them as best-in-class providers. Their customers value the relationship they have forged with them and are looking to further engage with them as trusted energy advisers.

Escalent 2021 Business Customer Champions

Alabama Power

Duke Energy Progress

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

APS

El Paso Electric

Puget Sound Energy

BGE

Florida Power & Light

Salt River Project

CenterPoint Energy – South

Georgia Power

Seattle City Light

Chattanooga Gas Company

Idaho Power

TECO Peoples Gas

Con Edison

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

TECO Tampa Electric

Dominion Energy Ohio

NV Energy

Virginia Natural Gas

Dominion Energy West

OG&E

We Energies

DTE Energy

PNM

Xcel Energy – West

Duke Energy Florida

PSE&G

EAST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name

ECR score

Con Edison

828

BGE

817

PSE&G

800

NYSEG

787

PPL Electric Utilities

786

National Grid

778

PECO Energy

777

Appalachian Power

763

Jersey Central Power & Light

761

Penelec

757

PSEG Long Island

756

West Penn Power

747

Eversource Energy

715

MIDWEST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name

ECR score

We Energies

849

DTE Energy

824

Ameren Missouri

798

Consumers Energy

796

AEP Ohio

790

MidAmerican Energy

787

Ameren Illinois

784

NIPSCO

783

AES Ohio

778

Xcel Energy – Midwest

777

Duke Energy Midwest

776

Wisconsin Public Service

773

Indiana Michigan Power

769

OPPD

763

AES Indiana

760

Alliant Energy

759

Ohio Edison

751

ComEd

743

Evergy

729

The Illuminating Company

725

SOUTH REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name

ECR score

Duke Energy Florida

811

OG&E

810

Florida Power & Light

808

Georgia Power

803

Duke Energy Progress

798

TECO Tampa Electric

792

Alabama Power

791

El Paso Electric

791

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

791

Louisville Gas & Electric

788

Dominion Energy Virginia

783

Mississippi Power

772

Entergy

769

Duke Energy Carolinas

764

CPS Energy

760

Kentucky Utilities

758

JEA

751

Southwestern Electric Power Company

750

Dominion Energy South Carolina

749

Gulf Power

743

WEST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name

ECR score

Xcel Energy – West

841

Seattle City Light

828

Puget Sound Energy

806

APS

804

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

804

PNM

804

Idaho Power

803

Salt River Project

802

NV Energy

800

SMUD

797

Southern California Edison

795

Colorado Springs Utilities

785

SDG&E

784

Pacific Power

780

PG&E

777

Portland General Electric

760

Rocky Mountain Power

757

NorthWestern Energy

740

NATURAL GAS UTILITIES: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance

Utility brand name

ECR score

TECO Peoples Gas

837

CenterPoint Energy – South

819

Dominion Energy West

808

Chattanooga Gas Company

803

Virginia Natural Gas

802

Dominion Energy Ohio

801

CenterPoint Energy – Midwest

798

Nicor Gas

796

Dominion Energy North Carolina

789

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business

Escalent conducted surveys among 16,604 business electric and natural gas utility customers of 81 US utility companies. Utilities within the same region are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. The Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) index is a composite score based upon a 360-degree customer review of how engaged businesses are with their energy utility provider. Scores are composed of ratings across service satisfaction, brand and product experiences. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

About Escalent

Escalent is a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm specializing in industries facing disruption and business transformation. As catalysts of progress for more than 40 years, we transform data and insight into a profound understanding of what drives human beings. And we help businesses turn those drivers into actions that build brands, enhance customer experiences and inspire product innovation. Visit escalent.co to see how we are helping shape the brands that are reshaping the world.