Customer Support of Energy Utilities Directly Related to Brand Trust

44 Utilities Named Most Trusted Brands Among Residential Customers

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--Support of utility rates and attracting consumer use of alternative energy offerings requires brand trust among residential electric and natural gas utility consumers, according to a new Cogent Reports™ study by Market Strategies International. This annual study highlights a statistical relationship between brand trust and rate support, and shows customers expect utilities to expand support for new offerings and community outreach as a result of rate increases. The study’s findings, which designates 44 utilities as “Most Trusted Brands,” can be found in the 2017 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study.

“Our research clearly shows utility brand trust levels are closely tied to financial success, customer advocacy and market support for rate changes”

“Building a brand that customers trust and offering products and services customers will use are the new utility challenges. Brand trust is truly the difference between customers supporting or resisting new utility income opportunities,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International.

High brand trust scores are required to attract customer use of alternative energy offerings and to increase the preference to use utilities as providers of these products. Additionally, customers who trust their utility are twice as likely to recommend those alternative energy products to other customers.

“Our research clearly shows utility brand trust levels are closely tied to financial success, customer advocacy and market support for rate changes,” continued Oberle. “High brand trust benefits customers, shareholders and stakeholders, and positions utilities as credible players in shaping the evolving utility market.”

The study’s brand trust index has declined by one point this year to 692 (on a 1,000-point scale). The study, now in its fourth year, benchmarks brand performance of 130 utilities on a quarterly basis among 59,823 utility consumers. The brand trust index is based upon 35 rating questions that relate to a suite of emotional attachment and management performance factors.

This year, Cogent has designated 44 utilities as 2017 Most Trusted Brands. This group of utilities scores 40 points higher on brand trust than their industry peers. As a result of the brand trust garnered among customers, Most Trusted Brand utilities experience a 7 percent improvement in support for rate increases and a 27 percent boost in positive customer comments than industry peers. Additionally, Most Trusted Brands are viewed by customers as better stock investments.

The following four tables show benchmark scoring among the utilities surveyed.

2017 Brand Trust Scoring by Benchmark Segments: EAST REGION

Service Type

 

Utility Brand

 

Brand Trust Score

Combination NYSEG* 713
Combination RG&E* 710
Combination PSE&G* 698
Combination BGE 692
Combination Delmarva Power 683
Combination National Grid 683
Combination PECO Energy 674
Combination ConEdison 672
Combination Eversource 637
Electric PPL Electric Utilities* 718
Electric Duquesne Light Company* 700
Electric Central Maine Power 687
Electric West Penn Power 681
Electric Penn Power 679
Electric Penelec 673
Electric Met-Ed 653
Electric Potomac Edison 650
Electric Appalachian Power 649
Electric PSEG Long Island 645
Electric Atlantic City Electric 644
Electric Monongahela Power 625
Electric Pepco 614
Electric Jersey Central Power & Light 602
Natural Gas New Jersey Natural Gas* 724
Natural Gas National Fuel Gas* 722
Natural Gas Peoples* 715
Natural Gas UGI Utilities* 709
Natural Gas Washington Gas* 709
Natural Gas Philadelphia Gas Works* 708
Natural Gas Columbia Gas - East 700
Natural Gas South Jersey Gas Company 699
Natural Gas Elizabethtown Gas 682
Score above 500 indicates positive level of brand trust
Performance index scores based upon a 1,000 maximum score and can be compared
* Most Trusted Brand designation is awarded to utilities that score in the top quartile, or achieve top two regional designation or are within 20-points of the top regional score.
 

2017 Brand Trust Scoring by Benchmark Segments: MIDWEST REGION

Service Type

 

Utility Brand

 

Brand Trust Score

Combination MidAmerican Energy* 730
Combination Consumers Energy* 708
Combination Ameren Illinois 706
Combination DTE Energy 704
Combination NIPSCO 695
Combination Alliant Energy 694
Combination We Energies 694
Combination Vectren 691
Combination Xcel Energy – Midwest 691
Combination Wisconsin Public Service 685
Combination Duke Energy Midwest 684
Electric ComEd* 702
Electric Ohio Edison* 696
Electric Dayton Power & Light 691
Electric KCP&L 690
Electric AEP Ohio 687
Electric Indiana Michigan Power 680
Electric Indianapolis Power & Light 671
Electric OPPD 669
Electric Ameren Missouri 665
Electric The Illuminating Company 665
Electric Toledo Edison 654
Electric Westar Energy 637
Natural Gas Atmos Energy – Midwest* 721
Natural Gas Nicor Gas* 702
Natural Gas Columbia Gas of Ohio* 701
Natural Gas SEMCO Energy Gas Company 695
Natural Gas Black Hills Energy 694
Natural Gas CenterPoint Energy – Midwest 694
Natural Gas Citizens Energy 692
Natural Gas Laclede Gas 689
Natural Gas Peoples Gas 680
Natural Gas Missouri Gas Energy 679
Natural Gas Dominion Energy Ohio 678
Natural Gas Kansas Gas Service 678
Score above 500 indicates positive level of brand trust
Performance index scores based upon a 1,000 maximum score and can be compared
* Most Trusted Brand designation is awarded to utilities that score in the top quartile, or achieve top two regional designation or are within 20-points of the top regional score.
 

2017 Brand Trust Scoring by Benchmark Segments: SOUTH REGION

Service Type

 

Utility Brand

 

Brand Trust Score

Combination CPS Energy* 698
Combination Louisville Gas & Electric * 690
Combination SCE&G* 690
Combination MLGW 657
Electric Georgia Power* 738
Electric Florida Power & Light* 724
Electric Kentucky Utilities* 717
Electric OG&E* 710
Electric OUC 708
Electric JEA 705
Electric Entergy 702
Electric Nashville Electric Service 701
Electric Public Service Company of Oklahoma 700
Electric Gulf Power 697
Electric Xcel Energy – South 695
Electric Southwestern Electric Power Company 687
Electric Dominion Energy Virginia 683
Electric Duke Energy Carolinas 683
Electric El Paso Electric 678
Electric TECO Tampa Electric 677
Electric Alabama Power 665
Electric Duke Energy Florida 659
Electric Austin Energy 657
Electric Mississippi Power 656
Electric Duke Energy Progress 653
Electric Kentucky Power 600
Natural Gas TECO Peoples Gas* 777
Natural Gas Piedmont Natural Gas* 748
Natural Gas CenterPoint Energy – South* 734
Natural Gas PSNC Energy* 732
Natural Gas Alagasco* 729
Natural Gas Virginia Natural Gas* 727
Natural Gas Columbia Gas – South* 720
Natural Gas Oklahoma Natural Gas* 716
Natural Gas Atmos Energy – South 712
Natural Gas Texas Gas Service 705
Score above 500 indicates positive level of brand trust
Performance index scores based upon a 1,000 maximum score and can be compared
* Most Trusted Brand designation is awarded to utilities that score in the top quartile, or achieve top two regional designation or are within 20-points of the top regional score.
 

2017 Brand Trust Scoring by Benchmark Segments: WEST REGION

Service Type

 

Utility Brand

 

Brand Trust Score

Combination Xcel Energy – West* 699
Combination SDG&E* 692
Combination Avista 672
Combination Puget Sound Energy 669
Combination PG&E 656
Combination NorthWestern Energy 655
Electric SMUD* 744
Electric Idaho Power* 729
Electric Salt River Project* 726
Electric Seattle City Light* 716
Electric Pacific Power 703
Electric Tucson Electric Power 701
Electric APS 695
Electric Rocky Mountain Power 691
Electric Portland General Electric 685
Electric Southern California Edison 685
Electric Los Angeles Department of Water and Power 653
Electric NV Energy 652
Electric PNM 632
Natural Gas Questar Gas* 743
Natural Gas Cascade Natural Gas* 742
Natural Gas SoCalGas* 738
Natural Gas NW Natural* 733
Natural Gas Southwest Gas* 726
Natural Gas Intermountain Gas Company 711
Natural Gas New Mexico Gas Company 706
Score above 500 indicates positive level of brand trust
Performance index scores based upon a 1,000 maximum score and can be compared
* Most Trusted Brand designation is awarded to utilities that score in the top quartile, or achieve top two regional designation or are within 20-points of the top regional score.
 

About the Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential report

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 59,823 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 130 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses US census data and strict quotas to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight in order to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.

About Market Strategies International

Market Strategies International is a leading provider of research and consulting services to utility management, trusted by the world’s most successful organizations to help them thrive. We blend primary research with data from our syndicated, benchmarking and self-funded studies to provide clients with exceptional research insight that helps solve their challenges. Our research specialties include brand, communications, CX, product development and segmentation. Our syndicated products, known as Cogent Reports, help clients understand the market environment, explore industry trends and monitor their brand within the competitive landscape. Founded in 1989, Market Strategies is one of the largest market research firms in the world. Read Market Strategies’ blog at FreshMR, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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anne.denz@marketstrategies.com

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Release Summary

Support of utility rates and attracting consumer use of alternative energy offerings requires brand trust among residential utility consumers.

Market Strategies International