Although Americans are generally satisfied with the service provided by their utilities, electricity providers receive the highest marks, according to a recent study by Opinion Research Corporation. Of the three major utilities -- electricity, water and local telephone -- with very widespread (i.e., at least 87%) usage across the country, customers are most satisfied with electric companies (69%), followed by water (65%) and local telephone service providers (60%). Satisfaction is defined as rating the utility an 8, 9 or 10 on the 0-10 scale.
At the bottom end of the satisfaction scale, dial-up Internet users reported only a 36% level of satisfaction.
Among the other findings of the study:
- Long-distance telephone service, with an 80% usage by Americans, achieved a 52% satisfaction level. Southern customers (58%) are most satisfied with service they get from their long-distance phone carrier.
- Customers in the South (66%) and Northeast (65%) are more satisfied with their local phone service than those in the Midwest (55%) or West (52%).
- Although fewer Americans use DSL/cable modems than dial-up services to connect to the Internet (33% vs. 46%), the level of satisfaction among DSL/cable users is notably higher (53% vs. 36%).
"These next questions are about your level of satisfaction with various utilities you, yourself currently use in your home. If you do not use a specific utility that I name, just say so. Please answer using a scale from 0-10 with zero meaning you have an extremely low level of satisfaction with that utility and 10 meaning you have an extremely high level of satisfaction. Let's start with ..."
USE SERVICE (8-10 rating, 0-10 scale)
Electric 98% 69%
Water 87% 65%
Gas 68% 61%
Local Phone 99% 60%
DSL/Cable Internet 33% 53%
Long Distance Phone 80% 52%
Oil 22% 44%
Cable 71% 43%
Dial-Up Internet 46% 36%
The "Utility Satisfaction" study was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation's CARAVAN(R) among a nationally representative sample of 1,015 adults 18 and older. The survey was conducted February 21-24, 2003. The margin of error for the percentage using each utility is +/- 3%. Satisfaction ratings have a margin of error from +/- 3% for local phone and electricity to +/- 7% for oil, at the 95% confidence level.