Brand Trust Spikes as Utilities Spend More on Communication

Escalent Names 38 Utilities 2021 Most Trusted Brands

LIVONIA, Mich.--()--Customer trust in utility companies spiked to the highest score ever on the Escalent utility Brand Trust Index (706 on a 1,000-point scale) due to spending roughly 16% more to communicate about product options, environmental efforts, and how they partnered with customers on shared priorities during the pandemic. The communications were well received by utility customers, as the Communications Effectiveness metric posted the highest average score (738) among the six factors that compose Brand Trust. This information is part of the 2021 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm.

The Brand Trust Index is a composite score of utility performance on customer focus, community support, communications effectiveness, reliable quality, environmental dedication and company reputation. Among these six factors, Customer Focus has increased the most during the year (13 points) followed by Company Reputation (12 points) and Community Support (11 points).

“Starting active conversations with customers on how their utility can partner with and support them throughout the challenges faced this past year has strongly positioned utilities as trusted energy advisers and great corporate citizens,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Our research shows that nearly all utilities provide great service levels, but an elite group has been able to build trusted brands that empower customers with valuable offerings and value-added information. The most trusted utility brands include utilities that are making a positive impact on their customers, communities and financials.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Customers with high brand trust use an average of nine enhanced utility offerings compared with only four for customers with low trust levels.
  • Two in three (62%) of those with high brand trust use utility digital options.
  • High brand trust increases customer acceptance of utility rate changes by 23%.
  • Customer trust is built over time, as new customers give lower Brand Trust scores than those who’ve been customers longer.
  • The utility industry should focus on low-income customers ($25K or less annual household income), as they post lower Brand Trust scores than customers with higher income levels.
  • High brand trust minimizes the negative-perception impacts from outage, safety and other critical events, while increasing customer advocacy and loyalty.

Escalent congratulates the 2021 Most Trusted Brands among utilities. These 38 utilities have developed industry-leading customer trust levels.

Cogent Syndicated 2021 Most Trusted Utility Brands

Avista

Intermountain Gas Company

PSE&G

Cascade Natural Gas

Kentucky Utilities

RG&E

CenterPoint Energy – Midwest

New Jersey Natural Gas

Rocky Mountain Power

Colorado Springs Utilities

Nicor Gas

Salt River Project

Columbia Gas – South

NW Natural

SMUD

Columbia Gas of Ohio

Oklahoma Natural Gas

TECO Peoples Gas

CPS Energy

OPPD

Toledo Edison

DTE Energy

OUC

Tucson Electric Power

Elizabethtown Gas

PECO

UGI Utilities

Florida Power & Light

Peoples Gas

Washington Gas

Georgia Power

Pepco

Wisconsin Public Service

Green Mountain Power

Portland General Electric

Xcel Energy – West

Idaho Power

PPL Electric Utilities

The following tables reflect regional peer benchmark Brand Trust scores among the 140 utilities surveyed. These scores reflect the amount of trust customers have with each utility.

East Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance

 

Utility brand name

Service provided

Brand trust score

PECO

Combination

733

PSE&G

Combination

726

RG&E

Combination

716

Con Edison

Combination

708

Delmarva Power

Combination

708

National Grid

Combination

706

BGE

Combination

685

NYSEG

Combination

653

Eversource Energy

Combination

636

Pepco

Electric

742

Green Mountain Power

Electric

741

PPL Electric Utilities

Electric

736

Penn Power

Electric

708

Duquesne Light

Electric

700

Met-Ed

Electric

696

Penelec

Electric

690

West Penn Power

Electric

687

Potomac Edison

Electric

683

Atlantic City Electric

Electric

679

Appalachian Power

Electric

670

Mon Power

Electric

663

Jersey Central Power & Light

Electric

627

PSEG Long Island

Electric

625

Central Maine Power

Electric

623

Elizabethtown Gas

Natural Gas

751

Washington Gas

Natural Gas

749

UGI Utilities

Natural Gas

742

New Jersey Natural Gas

Natural Gas

738

National Fuel Gas

Natural Gas

723

Peoples

Natural Gas

722

South Jersey Gas Company

Natural Gas

716

Philadelphia Gas Works

Natural Gas

714

 


Midwest Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance

 

Utility brand name

Service provided

Brand trust score

DTE Energy

Combination

758

Wisconsin Public Service

Combination

755

Black Hills Energy - Midwest

Combination

736

Montana Dakota Utilities

Combination

736

Xcel Energy – Midwest

Combination

730

Ameren Illinois

Combination

726

Consumers Energy

Combination

722

MidAmerican Energy

Combination

719

Duke Energy Midwest

Combination

718

Alliant Energy

Combination

717

NIPSCO

Combination

686

We Energies

Combination

674

Vectren

Combination

666

Toledo Edison

Electric

713

OPPD

Electric

709

The Illuminating Company

Electric

693

AEP Ohio

Electric

692

Ohio Edison

Electric

692

ComEd

Electric

690

AES Ohio

Electric

689

Ameren Missouri

Electric

684

AES Indiana

Electric

680

Indiana Michigan Power

Electric

680

Evergy

Electric

671

Columbia Gas of Ohio

Natural Gas

737

Peoples Gas

Natural Gas

724

Nicor Gas

Natural Gas

723

CenterPoint Energy – Midwest

Natural Gas

720

Spire Missouri – East

Natural Gas

715

Dominion Energy Ohio

Natural Gas

712

Atmos Energy – Midwest

Natural Gas

708

Kansas Gas Service

Natural Gas

705

Citizens Energy

Natural Gas

697

Spire Missouri – West

Natural Gas

694

 

South Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance

 

Utility brand name

Service provided

Brand trust score

 

CPS Energy

Combination

714

 

Louisville Gas & Electric

Combination

688

 

Dominion Energy South Carolina

Combination

682

 

MLGW

Combination

644

 

Kentucky Utilities

Electric

745

 

OUC

Electric

742

 

Florida Power & Light

Electric

739

 

Georgia Power

Electric

733

 

Entergy Texas

Electric

723

 

Entergy Mississippi

Electric

721

 

Entergy Arkansas

Electric

716

 

TECO Tampa Electric

Electric

716

 

Alabama Power

Electric

713

 

Dominion Energy Virginia

Electric

711

 

Entergy Louisiana

Electric

711

 

Mississippi Power

Electric

710

 

Nashville Electric Service

Electric

710

 

OG&E

Electric

710

 

Southwest Electric Power Company

Electric

708

 

Xcel Energy – South

Electric

706

 

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Electric

703

 

El Paso Electric

Electric

701

 

Duke Energy Florida

Electric

697

 

Duke Energy Carolinas

Electric

695

 

Gulf Power

Electric

692

 

JEA

Electric

684

 

Austin Energy

Electric

682

 

Duke Energy Progress

Electric

664

 

Entergy New Orleans

Electric

662

 

Kentucky Power

Electric

656

 

Columbia Gas – South

Natural Gas

768

 

TECO Peoples Gas

Natural Gas

760

 

Oklahoma Natural Gas

Natural Gas

746

 

Piedmont Natural Gas

Natural Gas

740

 

Florida City Gas Company

Natural Gas

739

 

CenterPoint Energy – South

Natural Gas

733

 

Virginia Natural Gas

Natural Gas

729

 

Dominion Energy North Carolina

Natural Gas

727

 

Spire Alabama

Natural Gas

724

 

Texas Gas Service

Natural Gas

724

 

Atmos Energy – South

Natural Gas

721

 

Spire Mississippi

Natural Gas

716

 

Chattanooga Gas Company

Natural Gas

708

 

Spire Gulf Coast

Natural Gas

656

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Region Utilities Brand Trust Performance

 

Utility brand name

Service provided

Brand trust score

 

 

Xcel Energy – West

Combination

734

 

 

Avista

Combination

726

 

 

Colorado Springs Utilities

Combination

721

 

 

NorthWestern Energy

Combination

705

 

 

Puget Sound Energy

Combination

697

 

 

SDG&E

Combination

688

 

 

Black Hills Energy – West

Combination

658

 

 

PG&E

Combination

626

 

 

Salt River Project

Electric

740

 

 

Idaho Power

Electric

736

 

 

Portland General Electric

Electric

730

 

 

SMUD

Electric

726

 

 

Tucson Electric Power

Electric

726

 

 

Rocky Mountain Power

Electric

720

 

 

Seattle City Light

Electric

717

 

 

Southern California Edison

Electric

701

 

 

Pacific Power

Electric

694

 

 

NV Energy

Electric

676

 

 

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Electric

666

 

 

PNM

Electric

665

 

 

APS

Electric

641

 

 

Cascade Natural Gas

Natural Gas

760

 

 

Intermountain Gas Company

Natural Gas

759

 

 

NW Natural

Natural Gas

751

 

 

SoCalGas

Natural Gas

735

 

 

Dominion Energy West

Natural Gas

714

 

 

Southwest Gas

Natural Gas

704

 

 

New Mexico Gas Company

Natural Gas

702

 

 

 

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 76,656 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 to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. The Brand Trust index score is a composite based upon consumer ratings across six factors. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

About Escalent

Escalent is a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm specializing in industries facing disruption and business transformation. As catalysts of progress for more than 40 years, we 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.

Contacts

Sarah Keller, 734.779.6847
sarah.keller@escalent.co

Release Summary

Escalent names 38 utilities 2021 Most Trusted Brands based on it's Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential market research study

Contacts

Sarah Keller, 734.779.6847
sarah.keller@escalent.co