Low Brand Trust Hinders Utility Success with Innovation

44 Named Most Trusted Utility Brands among Residential Customers

Most Trusted Utility Brands Among Residential Customers (Graphic: Business Wire)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--New research shows the utility industry is being disrupted by consumer demand for new energy sources and innovative offerings. Customers’ decisions on who to use for these offerings are based on who they see as trusted energy advisors. However, in a concerning development for the utility industry, the research shows a five-point decline to 687 (on a 1,000-point scale) in the industry’s Brand Trust Index from last year. Only 15 utilities significantly improved their brand trust standing, while 29 utilities weakened. These findings are from the 2018 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential Cogent Reports™ study by Market Strategies International.

Today Market Strategies named the 44 elite Most Trusted Utility Brands for 2018. These utilities have earned the trust of their customer base and are perceived to be industry leaders on innovation. They are also more successful at achieving customer adoption of the enhanced offerings and options they have developed. Overall for the industry, only 14% of customers view their utility as a trusted energy adviser, only 18% view it as an industry leader on innovation and 80% are open to a non-utility third party providing their energy.

“Building greater trust and brand preference throughout the customer journey is now critical to reap customer support for utility innovation,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International. “Utilities need to identify what they can do to deliver a better, more connected consumer experience, as non-utility third-party providers are becoming increasingly relevant to customers.”

Utility Success with New Offerings Are Tied to Brand Trust

Residential Usage of Select Utility Value-added Offerings

  High Brand   Low Brand
Utility Value-added Offerings   Trust   Trust
Digital services and notifications 34% 21%
Consumption management programs 14% 4%
Rate options 14% 6%

“It is our mission to help utilities move their brand and business forward. For the past few years, the study has showed that future utility success is tied to tracking and managing trust among a changing customer base seeking more than reliable core utility service,” continued Oberle. “Utilities have been touting innovation for a while and we find that customers are now navigating a journey to understand new offerings and alternative providers. Consumers form perceptions of every company that serves them and they will choose to do business with the companies they trust.”

The Brand Trust index is based upon 35 rating questions that relate to a suite of emotional attachment and management performance factors. The study also provides market demand profiles for over 60 value-added offerings.


Service   Utility brand   Brand Trust index
Combination   BGE   702
Combination PECO 696
Combination National Grid 695
Combination Con Edison 690
Combination Delmarva Power 686
Combination NYSEG 683
Combination PSE&G 679
Combination RG&E 668
Combination Eversource 659
Electric PPL Electric Utilities 705
Electric Duquesne Light Company 684
Electric Atlantic City Electric 678
Electric Penelec 658
Electric West Penn Power 655
Electric PSEG Long Island 655
Electric Monongahela Power 641
Electric Penn Power 641
Electric Met-Ed 640
Electric Pepco 638
Electric Potomac Edison 635
Electric Central Maine Power 627
Electric Jersey Central Power & Light 609
Electric Appalachian Power 585
Natural gas UGI Utilities 735
Natural gas National Fuel Gas 734
Natural gas New Jersey Natural Gas 728
Natural gas Washington Gas 723
Natural gas Philadelphia Gas Works 723
Natural gas Columbia Gas – East 703
Natural gas South Jersey Gas Company 701
Natural gas Elizabethtown Gas 694
Natural gas Peoples 686


Service   Utility brand   Brand Trust index
Combination   DTE Energy   725
Combination NIPSCO 719
Combination Black Hills Energy – Midwest 718
Combination MidAmerican Energy 717
Combination Wisconsin Public Service 717
Combination Alliant Energy 709
Combination Consumers Energy 700
Combination Vectren 683
Combination Xcel Energy – Midwest 683
Combination We Energies 682
Combination Duke Energy Midwest 680
Combination Ameren Illinois 679
Electric Indiana Michigan Power 696
Electric OPPD 693
Electric KCP&L 691
Electric Ohio Edison 689
Electric Indianapolis Power & Light 685
Electric ComEd 679
Electric The Illuminating Company 674
Electric Dayton Power & Light 673
Electric Ameren Missouri 670
Electric AEP Ohio 661
Electric Toledo Edison 650
Electric Westar Energy 640
Natural gas Columbia Gas of Ohio 713
Natural gas SEMCO Energy Gas Company 712
Natural gas Nicor Gas 710
Natural gas Citizens Energy 704
Natural gas CenterPoint Energy – Midwest 700
Natural gas Dominion Energy Ohio 698
Natural gas Atmos Energy – Midwest 691
Natural gas Peoples Gas 682
Natural gas Kansas Gas Service 680
Natural gas Spire Missouri 664


Service   Utility brand   Brand Trust index
Combination   CPS Energy   695
Combination Louisville Gas & Electric 680
Combination MLGW 665
Combination SCE&G 630
Electric Georgia Power 730
Electric Florida Power & Light 723
Electric JEA 721
Electric OUC 715
Electric Kentucky Utilities 707
Electric Gulf Power 702
Electric Mississippi Power 699
Electric Southwestern Electric Power Company 693
Electric Public Service Company of Oklahoma 692
Electric OG&E 689
Electric TECO Tampa Electric 687
Electric Alabama Power 683
Electric Entergy 680
Electric Dominion Energy Virginia 671
Electric Duke Energy Carolinas 671
Electric Duke Energy Progress 671
Electric Xcel Energy – South 671
Electric Nashville Electric Service 667
Electric Duke Energy Florida 663
Electric Austin Energy 657
Electric El Paso Electric 618
Electric Kentucky Power 560
Natural gas TECO Peoples Gas 781
Natural gas Atmos Energy – South 762
Natural gas Piedmont Natural Gas 738
Natural gas Oklahoma Natural Gas 726
Natural gas CenterPoint Energy – South 724
Natural gas Columbia Gas – South 723
Natural gas PSNC Energy 717
Natural gas Spire South 707
Natural gas Texas Gas Service 701
Natural gas Virginia Natural Gas 698


Service   Utility brand   Brand Trust index
Combination   Xcel Energy – West   706
Combination Puget Sound Energy 688
Combination NorthWestern Energy 673
Combination SDG&E 659
Combination PG&E 641
Combination Avista 630
Combination Black Hills Energy – West 613
Electric Salt River Project 724
Electric SMUD 723
Electric Portland General Electric 709
Electric Idaho Power 697
Electric Tucson Electric Power 693
Electric NV Energy 690
Electric Southern California Edison 688
Electric Rocky Mountain Power 687
Electric Pacific Power 684
Electric Seattle City Light 680
Electric APS 653
Electric Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 628
Electric PNM 613
Natural gas NW Natural 739
Natural gas Southwest Gas 726
Natural gas Intermountain Gas Company 723
Natural gas Cascade Natural Gas 709
Natural gas Dominion Energy – West 705
Natural gas SoCalGas 701
Natural gas New Mexico Gas Company 654

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential study

Market Strategies conducted surveys among 60,310 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 130 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses a combination of quotas and weighting based on US census data 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.


Market Strategies International
Anne Denz, 617.715.7611

Release Summary

Market Strategies announces 2018 Most Trusted Utility Brands among residential customers. This year is marked by an overall decline in trust.


Market Strategies International
Anne Denz, 617.715.7611