Business Customers Rate Seattle City Light Highest in Customer Satisfaction

Business customers rated Seattle City Light highest in customer satisfaction among western region midsize electric utilities in the J.D. Power 2016 calendar-year study released today.

“Providing excellent customer service in the delivery of reliable, low-cost, environmentally responsible electricity is what we strive for every day,” Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO Larry Weis said. “I’m proud of our employees for the effort they consistently bring to make that goal a reality for our customers.”

City Light’s score in the survey increased 44 points over the previous year, with improvement in every category of the survey. Throughout the past year, J.D. Power asked business customers to rate their satisfaction with utilities related to power quality and reliability; corporate citizenship; price; billing and payment; communications; and customer service.

City Light received a score of 782 in the survey, which was 27 points higher than the national average. Following City Light among western midsize utilities were Idaho Power, and then a tie between NorthWestern Energy and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

We believe City Light’s efforts to increase safety, its environmental initiatives and their familiarity with energy efficiency programs among the reasons for their satisfaction.

Safety was a focus area for City Light in 2016. The utility is a national leader in environmental stewardship and energy conservation. In 2005, it became the first utility in the country to fully offset all its greenhouse gas emissions and has maintained its carbon neutral status ever since. City Light has supported energy efficiency and conservation programs since 1977, helping its customers to use less electricity and save money.

City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents.

Business Customers Rate Seattle City Light Highest in Satisfaction

Business customers rated Seattle City Light highest in customer satisfaction among midsize western utilities in the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey results, which were released today.

“Everything we do at Seattle City Light starts with our customer-owners,” General Manager and CEO Jorge Carrasco said. “It’s our goal to provide them the best customer experience of any utility in the country. We’re proud of the J.D. Power results, which show us where we are succeeding and point to opportunities where we can do even better.”

This is the second time in the past three years that City Light was the top rated utility in the highly competitive western region by business customers.

J.D. Power surveys customers with questions about power quality and reliability, billing and payment, corporate citizenship, price, communications and customer service. City Light was rated highest or second highest in every category within the western region.

City Light received a total score of 716. The average for western midsize utilities was 691 and the overall national average was 677. Among all utilities nationwide, regardless of size, only eight achieved a higher score than City Light.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

Residential Customers Rate Seattle City Light Among the Best Utilities

Satisfaction improved over the past year among Seattle City Light’s residential customers, who rated City Light as one of the best midsize utilities in the West, according to J. D. Power and Associates. 

“Providing excellent customer service is the goal of everything we do at Seattle City Light,” General

Manager Jorge Carrasco said. “Each of our 1,800 employees contributes to these improvements and we’ll never stop working to make our customers’ experience even better.”

In J.D. Power’s 2014 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, City Light’s overall satisfaction score rose 10 points from 676 to 686, ranking third among western midsize utilities. Only Clark Public Utilities at 720 points and Colorado Springs Utilities in Colorado at 689 points were rated higher.

Nationally, City Light ranked 18th out of 138 utilities studied. 

The study, now in its 16th year, measures customer satisfaction with electric utility companies by examining six factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service.

Some examples of the service considerations customers are asked to rate are “actions to take care of environment,” “avoid lengthy outages” and “ease of navigating their utility’s website.”

Among the study’s highlights:

  • Seattle City Light was rated highest for the total monthly cost of service, which reflects the low cost of City Light’s electricity and utility conservation programs that help customers use less energy.
  • Increasing customer satisfaction with utility communications accounted for 2.9 points of the higher score.
  • And corporate citizenship saw a similar improvement at 2.5 points.

Initiatives to improve customer service even more are already underway as part of City Light’s recently approved Strategic Plan update. The six-year plan calls for website enhancements, customer service center upgrades, advanced metering and continuation of a program to replace older underground power lines to increase reliability of service.

 In 2013, City Light was rated highest in customer satisfaction among western midsize utilities by business customers.