The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Utility Website Evaluation Study looked at 48 different utility companies across the country, surveying more than 5,000 residential customers.
The utilities' websites were reasonably popular on the whole, receiving an average rating of 828 out of 1000 points. But many people found certain key features were hard to find or difficult to use, including tips on saving energy and information and electricity usage.
"Being unable to perform simple tasks on their utility's website may be frustrating for many customers and discourage them from returning, so it is vital to create processes that are easy to understand and navigate," said Andrew Heath, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates.
Clean, easy-to-navigate websites and intuitive customer resources are one very popular draw for retail electricity providers. Aside from offering lower electricity rates, these companies have an added incentive to try to stick out above the competition, leading many to offer far more advanced tools than many utility companies.