ORANGE, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AVANGRID, Inc. [NYSE: AGR], a leading sustainable energy company, today announced the ongoing formation of new Customer Listening Councils for its electric and gas utility companies in Maine, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The formation of these councils is consistent with the company’s strong Environmental, Social, Governance and Financial (ESG+F) framework, and will enable a representative group of customers and stakeholders to voice their interests directly to company leaders. In addition, the companies will share operational updates and planned activities to build increased understanding of the companies’ operating and strategic goals.
“At AVANGRID, we know that the success of our organization depends on the success and satisfaction of our customers in every market we serve,” said Dennis V. Arriola, CEO of AVANGRID. “Building deeper, stronger relationships with our customers, including residential, businesses, municipalities, as well as other community stakeholders is the best way to manage a successful sustainable energy company and align our goals with the expectations of the people we are proud to serve.”
Through Avangrid Networks, the company operates eight utilities including: Central Maine Power, Maine Natural Gas, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, Berkshire Gas and UIL Holdings Corporation, which includes United Illuminating (UI), Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas. The councils will represent customers in the states and service territories where the utilities operate and are forming now through outreach and invitation.
“Our customers rely on us to deliver their energy services reliably, safely and affordably, and they expect and deserve operational excellence,” said Catherine Stempien, CEO and President of Avangrid Networks. “But what a customer views as ‘excellent’ may differ from the way we view it, and that’s why these councils are vital. Sitting down with customers to hear what they have to say and talk through their issues, expectations and goals for the future is the right and important thing to do.”
In each state, the councils will comprise individuals representing consumers, businesses, municipalities and state and local agencies that operate in the communities we serve. The councils are expected to meet 3-4 times annually and will be coordinated by the local company president. Membership of the council will rotate periodically to ensure new voices and perspectives are heard.
In Maine, CMP’s Customer Listening Council will expand on work already under way through the company’s Customer Champion, former State Senator Dawn Hill, who was invited by CMP to serve in 2019 as an independent voice advocating for customers.
“Maine’s energy consumers and the people of CMP are not at cross purposes, and I say this as a customer, a consumer advocate, and a Mainer who appreciates and loves who we are as a state community,” Hill said. “We deserve excellent service and reliable operations and I have personally witnessed and been directly involved with CMP’s genuine efforts and progress in those areas. CMP leaders and employees alike respect and value their customers. Building the Maine Customer Listening Councils is yet another step that shows their commitment to our state.”
In New York, business leaders are also welcoming their listening council.
“I’m pleased that NYSEG and RG&E have included us in the New York Customer Listening Council, as both companies are vital to the success of the business community in Western New York,” said Dottie Gallagher, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “Particularly as our state recovers from the impact of COVID-19, bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to gain our input will equip the companies to best serve their customers now and well into the future.”
In Connecticut, UIL President Franklyn Reynolds hosted the first Customer Listening Council meeting on June 21. He is working with Massachusetts leaders on Council formation for Berkshire Gas.
“Regardless of what a business makes, sells or delivers – from pizza to automobiles to electricity – we are all in the ‘people business’,” Reynolds said. “And especially since our products are fundamental to modern life, we must understand, respect and listen to the customers who rely on the services and products we provide. I believe these councils will make us better, stronger partners to our customers. I thank those who have joined our council and look forward to future meetings.”
Garrett Sheehan, President of Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Connecticut council noted: “The team at United Illuminating has always been responsive to the needs of the business community. The Customer Listening Council in Connecticut takes this to another level. UI is creating regular contact points with senior leadership. In my experience, they want to hear everything, the good and the bad. There is a real commitment to our community, and I am seeing it through actions.”
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $38 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 7,000 people and has been recognized by Forbes and Just Capital as one of the 2021 JUST 100 companies – a list of America’s best corporate citizens – and was ranked number one within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2021 for the third consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.