Jackson EMC placed fifth in the 2017 J.D. Power and Associates Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study’s Cooperative Segment. The satisfaction score is the highest ever achieved by the cooperative. This is the second year J.D. Power separated cooperatives from their respective geographic categories, meaning Jackson EMC was ranked with large cooperatives from across the nation.
Jackson EMC’s index score of 773 was an increase from 2016, rising 10 points. The top five cooperatives from across the U.S. are (respectively): SECO Energy (789), NOVEC (788), Sawnee EMC (786), Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (783), Walton EMC (783) and Jackson EMC (773).
Jackson EMC’s index score remains well above the national average of 749. Georgia Power finished first in the large utility segment for the South Region, with an index score of 761.
The study, now in its 19th year, measures customer satisfaction with electric utility companies by examining six factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service. The study is based on responses from 99,145 online interviews conducted from July 2016 through May 2017 among residential customers of the 138 largest electric utility brands across the United States, which collectively represent more than 98 million households.
The study found that overall satisfaction among residential customers of electric utilities is improving due to higher price satisfaction and increased outage information.
“The utility industry has begun to fully understand the importance of customer satisfaction over the past several years, and now many have dedicated leaders and teams focused on improving the customer experience,” said John Hazen, senior director of the energy practice at J.D. Power & Associates. “A challenge we continue to see, however, is that the pace of implementing satisfaction improvements at utilities can be slower than in other industries.”
The study finds that more utility customers (66% vs. 59% in 2016) are getting critical information during a power outage, such as the cause of the outage, number of customers affected and estimates on when power will be restored. Overall satisfaction among customers who receive outage information is much higher than among those who do not receive such information (716 vs. 683, respectively).
Some key findings of the study:
• Customers believe their utility infrastructure is being updated.
• Electronic bill-pay is increasing.
• Paperless communications on the rise.
• Website access is going mobile.