ALLENTOWN - PPL was rated among the top U.S. electric and natural gas utilities for customer satisfaction in the latest report this week from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which is produced by the University of Michigan and the American Society for Quality.
PPL is the parent company for PPL Electric Utilities, Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities, as well as award-winning utilities in the United Kingdom. PPL received a score of 80. The company's customer satisfaction score rose one point from 2011 and was four points above the average for the investor-owned utilities.
ACSI surveyed customers of 27 large and mid-sized investor-owned utilities, as well as municipal utilities and co-ops, with a range of 58 to 83 percent positive. Scores are based on customers' perceived quality, value and expectations for the utility.
"The growing supply of natural gas has lowered prices, while a mild winter throughout much of the country has reduced energy use. The bottom line for many consumers is a lower energy bill and the benefit to utilities is greater customer satisfaction overall," said Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference.
He said natural gas providers tended to benefit from higher customer satisfaction generally.
The highest customer satisfaction score was given to Texas-based natural gas supplier Atmos Energy and diversified utility Sempra Energy, based in California, followed by CenterPoint Energy, an electric and gas company based in Arkansas; NiSource, an Indiana-based gas utility; Southern Company, the Carolina-based parent of a group of regional electric utilities; PPL, Dominion Resources, the Virginia-based utility group; and NextEra Energy, a power generator from Florida.
"PPL understands that customer satisfaction is one of the cornerstones of our business, and there's been a legacy of strong focus on our customers and the communities we serve that we always strive to preserve," said Greg Dudkin, president for PPL Electric Utilities. He cited the company's expanded investments in the region's electric delivery system for improved reliability, competitive rates, a user-friendly web site for customer self-service, and ongoing efforts to educate customers about electric choice and ways to manage utility costs as factors in the company's favorable performance.
ACSI interviews 70,000 consumers for measuring customer satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries as well as over 100 services, programs, and websites of federal government agencies. ACSI suggests customer satisfaction is an indicator for financial performance and the overall economy.