Deregulated Electricity Customers Satisfied

How happy are you with your electric service?

A new report published by J.D. Power provides insight on customers and their experience with area retail energy providers (REPs) in some of the country?s major deregulated markets.

This new study, surveyed responses from 21,744 individuals, all of whom were active customers of one of 86 different retail energy providers, in nine different states. The survey took a look at some of the most prominent leaders in the energy deregulation movement: Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland.

This study was particularly revealing for two of the biggest deregulated markets in the United States: Texas and Pennsylvania. The data collected on these states found that both have not only improved in terms of customer satisfaction, but that customers in these states were the most satisfied with their retail energy provider?s service.

This study, which has been an annual event for the past three years was developed to gain further insight into the current deregulated energy markets in the United States. Now that less customers are shopping for new electricity plans, and more consumers in deregulated markets are staying with their providers, many REP?s have been looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. Many providers are not only looking for insight on how to handle current customers but information on how they can improve practices to draw customers away from other competitive suppliers in their market.

J.D. Power dove into this question and looked at several different factors in overall customer satisfaction. The study measured satisfaction in the following areas: price, communications, corporate citizenship, enrollment and renewal and customer satisfaction. Customers in the state of Texas were also questioned on their satisfaction regarding billing and payment.

All of the customer surveys were measured on a scale of 1000. As for Texas and Pennsylvania, the data collected on these states found that the overall satisfaction rate for Texas consumers was 715 out of 1000. This means residents in the state of Texas were the most satisfied with their energy service than any other state in the country. The Lone Star State also improved their performance, with a nine point increase in customer satisfaction since last year.

Pennsylvania came in second place overall in terms of state-wide customer satisfaction. The state had an overall satisfaction rating of 664 out of 1000.

Ultimately with the data collected, the company found that among the five categories tested, that customers felt as though ease of enrollment and communication are the primary ways in which these energy companies can differentiate themselves from one another.  Ease of enrollment was a major point of concern, and among the participants surveyed, 59 percent revealed they prefer enrolling online.

Many customers also revealed that communication was an important component to overall satisfaction. In fact, the survey found that customers who received follow-up communications from their supplier, including information on prices and services, information and welcome kits were more satisfied than individuals who did not receive any follow up information.

According to the survey, companies who provide follow up communications received a 740 out of 1000 approval rating, while those who did not had a 597 out of 1000 approval rating.

So, of the retail energy providers surveyed, which had the highest customer ranking?

Connecticut – Ambit Energy: 689 out of 100 approval rating

Illinois – AEP Energy: 724 out of 1000 approval rating

Massachusetts – Viridian Energy: 682 out of 1000 approval rating

New Jersey – New Jersey Gas and Electric: 657 out of 1000 approval rating

New York – Green Mountain Energy: 684 out of 1000 approval rating

Ohio – IGS Energy: 642 out of 1000 approval rating

Pennsylvania – ConEdison Solutions: 698 out of 1000 approval rating

Texas – Champion Energy Services: 766 out of 1000 approval rating

As for the highest rated provider in the state of Maryland, the organization found their research was inconclusive.

With this new information being spread to the public, J.D. Power has tapped into the minds of the average deregulated energy consumer and found out first-hand what many of these customers feel not only about their individual experience with REPs, but information about how they feel these suppliers can improve moving forward in the future.