UI, Ever­source near bot­tom in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion

J.D. Power study presents chal­lenges for state’s power com­pa­nies

The Norwalk Hour - - BUSINESS - By Luther Turmelle luther.turmelle@hearst­medi­act.com

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.

Carol Kaliff / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Ever­source em­ploy­ees work to re­store power in Dan­bury af­ter a storm in March.

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