Seattle City Light received its highest rankings ever in the recently released J.D. Power and Associates residential customer satisfaction survey. City Light moved to second in the western midsize utility segment. It was ranked sixth in 2011 results. The utility also jumped to 12th nationally, moving from the 25th spot in 2011.
“Fundamental to the work we do is our commitment to provide the best customer service experience of any utility in the nation,” City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “Our customers are telling us they like the changes we are making, and all of us at the utility are working hard to improve our performance even more.”
City Light’s customer satisfaction score rose 10 points compared to 2011 while the larger trend for utilities across the country was an industry-wide decline in satisfaction. City Light enjoyed similar improvements in its business customer satisfaction survey released earlier this year, moving into the 10th spot nationally.
Among the areas customers cited for City Light’s improvement were customer service, communicating with customers about power outages and corporate citizenship.
“The more information electric utilities proactively provide during an outage, the higher customer satisfaction will likely be,” said Chris Oberle, senior director of the energy and utility practice at J.D. Power. “Customers value being kept up to date and want to resume their lives as quickly as possible. Notifying them in a proactive manner ensures that they know the latest information and are kept apprised of their unique situation.”
City Light added an online outage map, mobile-enabled web pages, developed a social media presence and introduced a customer call-back feature during the past three years to enhance customer communications and service. The utility also is proud of its employee volunteer efforts. Employees are proud of the work they do for customers and look for even more opportunities to give back to the community during off-hours.
The J.D. Power study measures customer satisfaction with 126 electric utility companies by examining six factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service. A total of 1,000 points are possible. City Light scored 674. The industry average was 625.
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of 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.