Seattle City Light customers value the utility’s environmental stewardship and energy conservation efforts, according to the latest customer satisfaction study by J.D. Power and Associates, which ranked City Light among the nation’s best utilities.
Overall, City Light scored 646 points for customer satisfaction with power quality and reliability, price, billing and payment, corporate citizenship, communications and customer service in the survey, which was released July 30.
That represents a 5 point gain since 2008, moving City Light into the top 25 percent of the 121 utilities reviewed, which Chris Oberle, J.D. Power’s senior director of energy practice, called “the nation’s elite in terms of serving their residential customers.”
“I am proud of the work our employees are doing every day to improve our service and provide the best customer service experience of any utility in the country,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “Their efforts make a difference that our customers recognize.”
Among the drivers for City Light’s high scores was customer recognition of the utility’s environmental stewardship efforts, such as operating as the only greenhouse gas-neutral utility in the country, flow management to protect salmon runs and projects to preserve and restore habitat for endangered species. Another factor was recognition of City Light’s efforts to help customers reduce their electricity use. The utility has started a five-year effort to double community energy conservation.
“We also pay close attention to what our customers are telling us needs to get better, such as outage information, billing and how they can get even more information about controlling their energy costs,” Carrasco said. “Last year’s survey results and our own research helped move us to electronic billing, which launched in January. We are committed to constantly looking for opportunities to improve.”
One example of that effort can be seen in the outage management system City Light is installing. The system is scheduled to be in place for the 2010 storm season. With this tool, the utility will be able to identify outage locations faster, provide better estimates for when service will be restored and improve customer follow-up.
Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.