Utilities Are Making Service Easier for Customers and It’s Getting Noticed

Customers Name the Nation’s 42 “Easiest Utilities to Do Business With”

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications it has on daily life, utilities are focusing on what they can control—servicing their customers and communities. This focus has not gone unnoticed, as the Cogent Syndicated Customer Effort Index reaches its highest score to date, continuing a long-term improvement trend for the industry. Significant improvements in phone and digital service are making it easier than ever for customers to do business with their utilities. These findings are from the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

The Customer Effort Index reflects how easy it is to obtain service, information and offerings from a utility. “Customer effort performance has emerged as the most important influencer of utility customer satisfaction and explains 90% of overall service satisfaction,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Top-scoring utilities on customer effort have developed easy processes across their critical customer experience touchpoints. In fact, customers who score their utility high on the Customer Effort Index also say their utility meets or exceeds their expectations. This translates to faster and more satisfying relationships that will ultimately benefit both the customer and utility.”

Oberle continued, “Utilities are clearly prioritizing their customers and communities, and that’s fantastic. But while customers are happy with phone and digital service, they did indicate it was more difficult to learn about and enroll in enhanced utility offerings, which may impact the effectiveness of utilities’ COVID-19 programs outreach.”

In Q1 2020, the utility Customer Effort Index reached its highest industry score ever, continuing its steady increase to 736 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 724 in Q1 2018. The 42 utilities listed below score highest on the index among the 140 utilities surveyed, and are named the Cogent Syndicated “Easiest Utilities to Do Business With” for 2020.

2020 Easiest Utilities to Do Business With

AEP Ohio

DTE Energy


Ameren Illinois

Duke Energy Midwest

Penn Power


Elizabethtown Gas

Peoples Gas


Florida Power & Light

Piedmont Natural Gas

Black Hills Energy – Midwest

Georgia Power

PPL Electric Utilities

Cascade Natural Gas

Idaho Power

Salt River Project

CenterPoint Energy – Midwest

Kentucky Utilities


CenterPoint Energy – South


TECO Peoples Gas

Columbia Gas – South

MidAmerican Energy

UGI Utilities

Columbia Gas of Ohio

Nashville Electric Service

Washington Gas


National Fuel Gas

West Penn Power

Consumers Energy

New Jersey Natural Gas

Wisconsin Public Service

CPS Energy

NW Natural

Xcel Energy – Midwest

Delmarva Power


Xcel Energy – West

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 62,122 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 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. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

About Escalent

Escalent is a top human behavior and analytics firm specializing in industries facing disruption and business transformation. As catalysts of progress for more than 40 years, we tell stories that transform data and insight into a profound understanding of what drives human beings. And we help businesses turn those drivers into actions that build brands, enhance customer experiences and inspire product innovation. Visit escalent.co to see how we are helping shape the brands that are reshaping the world.


Sarah Keller, 734.779.6847

Release Summary

Utilities are focusing on their customers and communities in this time of upheaval, making it easier for customers to do business with them.


Sarah Keller, 734.779.6847