By Charlotte Business Journal

Duke Energy Corp. ranks highest among Southern power providers for residential customer satisfaction, according to a survey by J.D. Power and Associates. Lower electric bills and greater reliability of service led to generally higher satisfaction scores from last year, J.D. Power says.

The study measures customer satisfaction with electric utilities by considering six factors: power quality and reliability, price, billing and payment, corporate citizenship, communications and customer service.

J.D. Power scores utilities on a 1,000-point score. The average was 630 this year, up from 618 in 2009. Duke Energy Carolinas scored 656 points, edging out Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (NYSE:OGE), CPS Energy and 11 other large utilities in the South.

The Midwest power operations of Charlotte-based Duke (NYSE:DUK) finished sixth among 17 large competitors.

Customer-reported bills have fallen by 5 percent from 2009, J.D. Power says. Customer-reported service interruptions decreased by 8 percent. Overall, 37 percent of customers said they suffered no power interruptions in this yearâ¿¿s survey, up from 33 percent in 2009.

⿿Utility companies are continuing to improve when it comes to managing customer expectations around power outages and restoration of service,⿝ says Jeff Conklin, senior director at J.D. Power. ⿿Even though outages can have a negative impact on satisfaction, utility providers who manage these incidents properly ⿿ by providing sufficiently detailed information about the outage and restoring power when they say they will ⿿ may be able to mitigate declines, or even improve satisfaction.⿝

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

http://charlotte.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2010/07/12/daily21.html?ana=thestreet

Copyright bizjournals.com 2010

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