PUC: Most Electric, Natural Gas Customers Satisfied with Utility Customer Service in 2009
August 17, 2010
HARRISBURG – The majority of electric and natural gas customers were satisfied with the way customer service representatives handled their calls in 2009, according to an annual report released today by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).
The 2009 Customer Service Performance Report measures the customer-service performance of the state’s major electric and natural gas companies. This year’s report summarizes data from 2007, 2008 and 2009. It allows customers to see how well companies are responding to their questions and enables utilities to see how their level of service compares to other companies. The full report is available at the PUC website.
The data falls into two categories: company-reported performance information and customer survey results. The company-reported data measures telephone access to the companies, such as the percentage of calls that were answered within 30 seconds, abandoned by customers or received a busy signal. Calls in the “busy-out rate” represent those attempted calls that received a busy signal or message. The report also measures how often companies failed to read meters, issue bills and promptly respond to customer disputes.
The customer surveys measure customer perception of access to the company; employee courtesy and knowledge; promptness and timeliness of a response or visit; and satisfaction with the handling of the interaction. All of the utilities contracted with a common market- research firm to conduct the surveys of their customers.
Company-reported highlights include:
- Access statistics improved for three of the electric distribution companies (EDCs) and declined for three. Although UGI-Electric shows a significant improvement from 2008 to 2009 in its average busy-out rate from 12 percent to 2percent, it reported a decline in the other two measures; the average call abandonment rate rose two percentage points and the percent of calls answered within 30 seconds went from 87 percent in 2008 to 80 percent in 2009. PPL reported an improvement in telephone access performance from the previous year in its busy-out rate (3 percent to 1 percent) and in its percent of calls answered within 30 seconds (76 percent to 81 percent). Although showing an improvement from 58 percent in 2008 to 60 percent in 2009, Allegheny Power again offered the poorest access to its call center.
- All but one of the seven NGDCs reported improved telephone access performance for 2009. Although PGW again reported the poorest telephone access performance among the major NGDCs, it continues to show improvement especially in percent of calls answered within 30 seconds, increasing it from 42 percent in 2007 to 55 percent in 2008 to 60 percent in 2009. After showing the biggest decline last year, with a decrease in the percent of calls answered from 87 percent in 2007 to 73 percent in 2008, NFG reported the most significant improvement for 2009 with 91 percent of its calls answered within 30 seconds. UGI Gas reported a lower percent of calls answered within 30 seconds (80 percent in 2009 from 87 percent in 2008).
- Five of the EDCs and only one of the NGDCs reported improved statistics regarding the number of residential disputes that did not receive a response within 30 days. One of the NGDCs, PGW, reported a significant increase, more than 250 percent, in the number of disputes not responded to within the prescribed 30 days. PPL reported 72 disputes not responded to within 30 days, the highest number for the electric companies, but, down from the 145 disputes it reported in 2008.
- The average percentage of calls answered within 30 seconds for the electric companies in 2009 is 76 percent, down from 77 percent in 2008 and 81 percent in 2007. The average percentage of calls answered within 30 seconds for the gas companies in 2009 is 78 percent, a clear improvement from 72 percent in 2008 and 73 percent in 2007.
Customer survey result highlights include:
- On average, 89 percent of EDC consumers reported they were either somewhat or very satisfied with the overall quality of service they received from their EDCs in 2009, the same as in 2008.
- On average, 80 percent of NGDC consumers reported they were either somewhat or very satisfied with the overall quality of service they received from their NGDCs last year, which is a slight decrease from 82 percent in 2008.
- PGW and Allegheny Power reported the worst access statistics. Survey findings show PGW and Allegheny Power customers were the least satisfied with the ease of reaching their company.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193
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