UI, Eversource near bottom in customer satisfaction
J.D. Power study presents challenges for state’s power companies
Connecticut’s two largest electric utilities came in near the bottom of the rankings of the latest J.D. Power Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, which was released Wednesday.
Hartford-based Eversource Energy finished third from the bottom among 17 electric companies in J.D. Power’s large Eastern utilities category. The United Illuminating Co., which is based in Orange, finished 12th among 13 utilities in the study’s midsized electric utilities category.
John Hazen, senior director of J.D. Power’s energy practice, said the electric utilities that scored the best in this year’s study have used technology to successful inform and communicate with their customers.
“Power outages are going to happen,” Hazen said in a statement. “The more proactive electric utilities are in clearly communicating information about the cause, anticipated duration, and repair of an outage, the more satisfied their customers will be with their overall service.”
Frank Poirot, an Eversource Energy spokesman, said adverse weather conditions have made the past year challenging for the utility.
“We understand how these surveys reflect the voice of our customers and take the results very seriously,” Poirot said. “We’re always looking for ways to do better for our customers, as evidenced by our Number One ranking in the nation in energy efficiency and our strong reliability record, and are looking closely at the details of the survey results to identify additional areas of focus.”
Among the 138 utilities from across the United States that were ranked in the study, Poirot said 44 saw their scores decline.
“We have increased our score somewhat from last year,” he said.
Ed Crowder, a spokesman for United Illuminating, said the J.D. Power study presents a challenge for Connecticut electric utilities because the meth- odology works against companies in areas where energy costs are high.
“Generation costs are something that are out of our control,” Crowder said “That being said, we continue to strive for excellence in every interaction that we have with customers.”
The study measures customer satisfaction by examining six factors: power quality and reliability, price, billing and payment issues, corporate citizenship, communications and customer service.
Eversource employees work to restore power in Danbury after a storm in March.