Electric cooperatives earn top scores in customer satisfaction

Consumer-members of not-for-profit electric ­cooperatives are more satisfied with their utility services than customers of investor-owned (IOU) or ­municipal utilities, according to the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Touchstone Energy® ­cooperatives have consistently held the top ACSI ­ranking, receiving a score of 80 this year. IOUs and municipals scored 74 and 73 respectively.

Across all 43 industries measured by the ACSI, electric co-ops have the 10th highest customer satisfaction score.

“Cooperatives work hard to put consumer-members first, and the success of the co-op approach is reflected in these scores,” said National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jo Ann Emerson. “Co-ops are member-owned, which makes them especially involved in their communities and dedicated to the satisfaction of their members.”

The ACSI establishes satisfaction benchmarks by ­surveying U.S. residents about their energy utilities, ­including residential experiences with reliability and ­restoration services.

Consumers are less satisfied with their electric and ­natural gas utilities than this time last year.

“Higher cost tends to weaken customer satisfaction,” 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.”

“Smaller rural cooperative utilities hold a strong lead over the other utility categories,” ACSI reported.