Improving for a third consecutive year, business customer satisfaction with electric utility provider has reached historically high levels, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study released today. The study’s nationwide customer satisfaction index has increased considerably—from 667 points on a 1000-point scale in 2006 to 690 in 2007.

“Utilities are doing a great job in offering price and customer service options, both of which improve customer satisfaction,” said Alan Destribats, vice president of the energy utility practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “In addition, utilities are now focused on talking directly to their business customers via proactive telephone contacts and on-site visits. Business customers have responded positively to this attention.”

The study is based on interviews with representatives of more than 12,900 U.S. businesses that spend between $500 and $50,000 monthly on electricity. Overall customer satisfaction is measured through six factors: power quality and reliability, customer service, company image, billing and payment, price, and communications.

Businesses served by the largest 55 electric utilities in the United States rate their experiences better across all components in 2007, with price and communications attributes registering the largest increases.

East Region
PPL Electric Utilities is the highest-ranking electric utility in the East Region with an overall CSI of 728 points—up 37 points from the 2006 study. PPL has ranked highest in the region in six of the past eight years. Other strong performers are Allegheny Power, Energy East, First Energy and Northeast Utilities.

Midwest Region
E.ON U.S. and MidAmerican Energy rank highest in a tie in the Midwest Region, each with an overall CSI of 727 points. E.ON U.S. (formerly LG&E Energy) ranks highest in the study for a fourth year, having previously ranked highest in the region in the 2000-2003 studies. MidAmerican Energy ranks highest for a third year, following regional awards in 2004 and 2005. Other utilities in the Midwest Region with strong performances include Kansas City Power & Light and FirstEnergy.

South Region
South Carolina Electric & Gas improves 43 points in the South Region to rank highest at 729 points. Other utilities with strong performances include Duke Energy, Progress Energy and Southern Company.

West Region
Sacramento Municipal Utility District ranks highest in the West Region with an overall CSI of 762—the highest score in the 2007 study. Other utilities performing particularly well include Pacific Gas & Electric—which is the most-improved utility in the 2007 study—Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project.