You can get satisfaction! - Carolina Country

You can get satisfaction!


In a recent national survey, co-op members reported higher satisfaction with their electricity provider than customers of other electric utilities.

Touchstone Energy cooperatives earned an overall score of 80, the highest among all-electric utilities in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) for the first quarter of 2015. That’s well ahead of the 74 received by investor-owned utilities, followed by municipals at 73.

“We are still the highest rated all-electric utility in the nation,” said Tim Sullivan, Touchstone Energy senior director of business development.

Co-ops top the list for consumer loyalty (80) and outage restoration (84), while enjoying the lowest level of consumer complaints. Co-ops also have the highest consumer perceptions of value for money, though the score of 77 is lower than in other categories.

Among the largest investor-owned utilities, the highest-scoring companies are both natural gas suppliers - Atmos Energy (ACSI score of 82) and CenterPoint Energy (81).

After a harsh winter, average overall scores for energy utilities were down slightly compared to last year.

“Higher cost tends to weaken customer satisfaction, particularly when spending is not discretionary, as is the case with commodities such as energy,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder. “It is not as much the cost of energy per se, but that usage was high and took a bigger bite out of household income.”

Touchstone Energy’s Sullivan challenged co-ops to relentlessly communicate and demonstrate values. “Not just how low the rate is — that’s important — but value is what I get for what I pay,” he said, calling on co-ops to highlight the many services they offer. “The cooperative difference in all of its forms — that’s what’s critical to demonstrate.”

As a basis of comparison with Touchstone Energy co-ops’ overall score of 80, JetBlue topped the airline list with an 81 and Costco was the highest-ranked specialty retailer at 84.

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