On May 11, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) announced, “Energy utilities face serious challenges as customer satisfaction drops 3.2 percent.”
With an ACSI score of 71.9 on a scale of 0 to 100, the energy utilities sector dropped again for the third straight year. On a positive note that speaks to the cooperative difference and value of membership, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives remain the highest rated utility group.
The ACSI highlights in their latest report that, as a group, cooperatives “still do better than investor-owned and municipal utilities. Touchstone Energy Cooperatives stays ahead of the smaller electric utility cooperatives despite slipping 4 percent to 77. The gap between Touchstone and the competition widens as all other smaller cooperatives plunge 8 percent to 72.”
In comparison, municipal utilities declined 6.8 percent overall to an ACSI score of 68 and large investor-owned utilities fell 2.7 percent as a group to 72 (see chart below).
When asked about the utility sector decline, ACSI Founder and Chairman Claes Fornell said, “Utilities customers are sensitive to two things: price and disruption. Demand for energy is inelastic and nondiscretionary, meaning consumers have little choice but to pay regardless of price. While energy prices have been stable and have not increased dramatically, wages remain stagnant and monthly energy bills are a constant drain on disposable income. Consumers expect the lights to turn on and the A/C to work when they flip the switch. ACSI data suggests that consumers have reduced confidence in utilities’ ability to respond and recover from outages.”
Here is the full press release, and you can download the full report and learn more about ACSI scores by visiting www.theacsi.org. If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into the drivers of cooperative member satisfaction and engagement, visit the Touchstone Energy interest area of cooperative.com to review the National Survey on the Cooperative Difference and the case studies featured in the Best Practices Knowledgebase.