The Business Customer Satisfaction Study (formerly the E Source Large Business Gap and Priority Benchmark), now in its fourth year, identified reliability in 2012 as the most important attribute that large business customers want from their utilities. The results are based on survey responses from more than 1,600 large business customers of 17 US utilities.

Silicon Valley Power, City of Palo Alto Utilities, Florida Power & Light, and Snohomish County Public Utility District took top honors in large business customer satisfaction.

  • Silicon Valley Power: 8.9 (tie)
  • City of Palo Alto Utilities: 8.9 (tie)
  • Florida Power & Light: 8.8
  • Snohomish County Public Utility District: 8.6

Scores are based on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 = not at all satisfied and 10 = very satisfied).

Silicon Valley Power’s top result was buoyed by customer recognition of the utility’s reliable electric service. In addition, its large business customers gave the utility high ratings for working to keep electricity prices down. “These results demonstrate that our customers trust us to meet or exceed their quality and cost expectations,” says Larry Owens, Silicon Valley Power’s manager of customer services. “SVP operations—from the control room and field technicians to our administration and customer service—are designed to benefit our customers. Also reflected in these results is the success of our key customer representatives and the customer advocacy role they play within the utility.”

The account management team at City of Palo Alto Utilities received notably favorable ratings, and the utility’s overall first-place ranking comes from several years of steadily improving performance in emergency communications. “City of Palo Alto Utilities values its customers and strives to deliver top-notch service along with relevant and timely communications,” says Valerie Fong, utilities director. “Our key account representatives—along with the rest of our marketing, customer service, and communications teams—are committed to working with our customers to identify and provide needed and valued services. We’re very honored and encouraged to be recognized by our customers and E Source.”

Florida Power & Light’s account management team scored especially well, with team members being seen as trusted energy advisors. Snohomish County Public Utility District was identified by its large business customers as being trustworthy and treating customers fairly.

“Large business customers want their utilities to be good business partners that communicate effectively and deliver on their commitments,” explains Chad Garrett, manager of the E Source Business Customer Suite. “Our survey pinpoints actions that utilities can take that have the greatest effect on customer satisfaction. It compares large business customer expectations to how well utilities are fulfilling those expectations, and illustrates how to close that gap.”

Working to keep energy prices down was the second most important attribute identified by large business customers. Effective emergency communication, trust, and delivering on commitments tied for third. Working to keep energy prices down is also the area that needs the most improvement: Scores for this issue revealed the largest gap between customer importance and utility performance.

About E Source

E Source is the leading solver of problems facing electric, gas, and water utilities and municipalities. We provide data science, market research, benchmarking data, and consulting services to more than 300 utilities, municipalities, and their partners. Our guidance helps customers make data-driven decisions to strengthen their customer relationships, plan for tomorrow’s infrastructure needs, and further their environmental sustainability goals while becoming more innovative and responsive in the rapidly evolving market.