According to the J.D. Power 2013 Texas Residential Retail Electric Provider Customer Satisfaction Study, Champion Energy Services ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 764 (on a 1,000-point scale). This will be the fourth consecutive year that Campion Energy Services received the highest ranking. Following in the rankings are Green Mountain Energy (737) and Bounce Energy (736).

The study, now in its sixth year, measures customer satisfaction with retail electric providers (REP’s) in Texas by examining six key factors (listed in order of importance): price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; enrollment/renewal; and customer service.

Customers who use a Texas REP, in contrast to those who use a regulated utility, state that the primary reason for satisfaction is price. On average, REP’s offer savings of at least 10 percent in comparison to regulated utilities.  

Overall, satisfaction among customers of REP’s in Texas is 682 (on a 1,000-point scale), an increase of 4 points from 2012. This is the highest score since the study was first published in 2008.

Customer satisfaction with price, a primary driver of satisfaction in the study, increases 20 points to 684 from 2012. The average perceived price per kilowatt hour (kWh) has declined to 10.4 cents in 2013 from 10.7 cents in 2012. Texas REP’s outperform regulated utilities in Texas by 114 points in the price factor (684 vs. 570, respectively).

The study found that price satisfaction is highest among customers whose REP makes them aware of energy-savings measures available. Two new factors in the study – Corporate citizenship and enrollment/renewal – premiere as important influencers of customer satisfaction.

“Deregulation of the residential electric market in Texas opened the doors to healthy price competition and also focused residential customers on finding the cost savings and service programs that match their needs,” said Chris Oberle, senior director of the energy practice at J.D. Power. “Satisfaction isn’t just about price. Retail electric providers must stay connected to their customers with clear, frequent and effective communications and quality customer touch points, including billing and payment, customer service, corporate citizenship, enrollment and beyond, to achieve a premier provider position.”

Satisfaction with the effectiveness of communications has risen to a high of 638 in 2013 in from 2008. The frequency and recall of communications by electric retailers play an increasingly important role in customer satisfaction.

Satisfaction is 717 among customers who recall communications from their REP (33%), compared with 666 among those who do not recall a communication (67%) –  a dramatic difference of 51 points. The most frequently recalled methods of communicating are email (36%); direct mail (30%); and bill insert (20%).

Corporate citizenship and enrollment/renewal debut as important drivers of customer satisfaction. Overall awareness of Texas REP corporate citizenship is low; however, customer satisfaction increases significantly when customers are aware of corporate citizenship efforts. For example, corporate citizenship satisfaction is 762 when customers are aware of their REP’s impact on the environment, compared with 658 when they are not aware. The same general trend is observed when customers are aware versus unaware of their REP’s local donations and sponsorship (738 vs. 672, respectively) and volunteering/working in the community (763 vs. 670, respectively).

Satisfaction is highest in the enrollment/renewal factor (777). When customers are satisfied with their REP, they are more loyal to the brand, more likely to renew and more likely to recommend the REP to family and friends. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of new customers who enrolled for service within the past 12 months had service with another retail electricity provider. The main reason customers cite for selecting their provider is a lower price (61%).

The 2013 Texas Residential Retail Electric Provider Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 7,708 residential customers of REP’s in Texas. The study was fielded between September 2012 and June 2013.

Overall Customer Satisfaction Index: