E SOURCE Announces Top Utility Web Sites
BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ — According to the latest E SOURCE benchmark results for the performance of North American utility web sites, the top-rated U.S. electric and gas web sites belong to Avista Utilities, Arizona Public Service, South Carolina Electric and Gas, Wisconsin Public Service, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Alliant Energy. The top-rated Canadian utility web sites belong to BC Hydro and Union Gas.
The “E SOURCE 2009 Review of North American Electric and Gas Company Web Sites” assessed the web sites of 100 U.S. and Canadian utilities. Between December 2008 and May 2009, a team of residential customers accessed and used the top 31 web and mobile features (both content information and self-service tasks) identified by a 2008 E SOURCE market research study as the features residential customers most want to see on their utility’s web site. Testing the utility web sites on mobile devices was a new element of this year’s study. The reviews were conducted from the perspective of general Internet use, so the sites were rated against the best in class across all web sites, not just utility web sites.
This new study–the fifth E SOURCE web site review–is the largest, most detailed benchmark of electric and gas web sites available. E SOURCE found that both utility customer expectations and utility web sites have changed significantly since earlier reviews. Florence Connally, a research manager at E SOURCE, said, “Utilities are taking note that the web site is an important customer service channel and have taken strides to make them customer friendly. This year, utilities that offer more of the features residential customers want had more user-friendly web sites. In previous studies, we found outliers that focused more on customer experience and not on functionality and vice versa. That is no longer the case.”
Overall, E SOURCE found that utility web sites are catching up with customer expectations, as demonstrated by the fact that utilities now offer 77 percent of the features that customers want. Stephanie Cary, a senior research associate at E SOURCE, explained, “Electric and gas companies can never stand still. Just when they refine their web site offerings to match consumer expectations, new twists come along, such as our finding that consumers now expect to navigate the utility site through Google sitelinks.”
Eastern U.S. PPL Electric is the top ranked utility in the eastern region and was the only utility from this region to rank in the top quartile. Pepco and Connecticut Light & Power earned second and third respectively.
Midwestern U.S. Wisconsin Public Service captured the top rank in the midwestern region. Alliant Energy and We Energies rounded out the top three.
Southern U.S. South Carolina Electric and Gas ranks highest in the southern region. Dominion and Progress Energy earned the next two highest scores.
Western U.S. Avista Utilities earned the top rank in the western region. Arizona Public Service and Pacific Gas and Electric were the next highest performers.
Canada. BC Hydro garnered the highest ranking among Canadian utility web sites. Other top performers include Union Gas and SaskEnergy.
“As more customers turn to their utility’s web site to report electric outages or pay their bills, the focus of these web sites needs to be online self-service. Utility web sites are at their best when there is a problem such as a gas leak or power outage, but surprisingly, we found that one of the hardest features to use is simply making a payment,” said Andrew Heath, director of E SOURCE Customer Satisfaction Services.
E SOURCE members will learn more about the findings from the benchmark study in a special web conference today. Others interested in learning about the key findings should attend the 22nd Annual E SOURCE Forum (www.esource.com/forum2009) being held in Denver, Colorado, September 21-25, 2009.
This “E SOURCE 2009 Review of North American Electric and Gas Company Web Sites” final report includes benchmarking information, best practice advice, and detailed recommendations for utilities wishing to provide a positive online experience for their residential customers. For more information about this comprehensive report, please visit www.esource.com/public/products/Web_2009_Review.
About E SOURCE
E SOURCE has been providing unbiased, objective energy business intelligence to over 300 utilities and large energy users for more than 20 years. Our benchmarking services are supported by the latest market research looking at what customers want in utility self-service. That research helps us determine what utility IVR and web site tasks and functions should be assessed during our reviews. Our research analysts and consultants are among the best minds in the business, delivering significant and timely research that equips our customers with the right information at the right time to make better, faster decisions. We predict and address trends, technologies, and problems related to energy efficiency, utility customer satisfaction, program design, marketing, customer management, and sustainability.
NOTE: one chart follows.
Performance Ranking of U.S. and Canadian Web Sites
Functionality and average usability ratings were combined with equal weighting to determine the overall performance index, which has a maximum possible value of 1,000. The web sites were then ranked in descending order.
Rank Company name Score Top Quartile 1 Avista Utilities 821 2 Arizona Public Service (APS) 788 3 South Carolina Electric & Gas 787 4 Wisconsin Public Service Corp. 782 5 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. 769 5 Alliant Energy 769 7 BC Hydro 751 7 Union Gas Limited 751 9 Dominion Virginia Power 734 10 Progress Energy 733 11 Alabama Power 731 12 PPL Electric Utilities 728 13 Duke Energy 724 14 San Diego Gas & Electric Co. 723 15 Salt River Project (SRP) 722 15 We Energies 722 17 Puget Sound Energy 718 18 Peoples Gas Delivery (Illinois) 715 19 American Electric Power 713 19 SaskEnergy 713 19 PacifiCorp 713 22 Southern California Gas Co. 708 23 Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division 703 23 Vectren 703 23 Westar Energy 703 Second Quartile 26 NW Natural 698 27 New Brunswick Power 697 28 Portland General Electric 693 28 Florida Power & Light 693 28 Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) 693 31 SaskPower 689 32 Ameren 685 33 ComEd 679 34 Georgia Power 667 35 Kansas City Power & Light 666 36 DTE Energy 663 37 NV Energy 658 38 MidAmerican Energy 653 38 Southern California Edison 653 40 PNM 648 40 Reliant Energy 648 42 Pepco 645 42 Manitoba Hydro 645 44 Connecticut Light & Power 643 45 Terasen Gas Inc. 642 46 CPS Energy 632 47 New York State Electric & Gas 628 48 Otter Tail Power 625 49 Nicor Gas 621 49 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 621 Third Quartile 51 Enbridge Gas Distribution 618 52 Hydro Ottawa Limited 616 53 Idaho Power 613 53 NorthWestern Energy-Montana 613 53 Washington Gas 613 56 National Grid New York 612 56 Public Service Electric and Gas 612 58 Central Maine Power 610 59 Con Edison 606 60 Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. 605 61 Hydro One Networks 601 61 Hydro-Quebec 601 61 Tampa Electric Co. 601 64 Xcel Energy 595 65 Omaha Public Power District 591 66 Atmos Energy 590 66 Jersey Central Power & Light 590 68 Louisville Gas & Electric 590 69 Virginia Natural Gas 588 70 Black Hills Energy 583 70 Nova Scotia Power 583 72 Consumers Energy 578 73 Long Island Power Authority 577 74 Entergy Louisiana 576 74 Laclede Gas 576 Fourth Quartile 76 NSTAR 575 77 Questar Gas 571 78 Centerpoint Energy (Minnesota) 567 79 ENMAX 556 79 Duquesne Light 556 81 Baltimore Gas & Electric 554 82 Hawaiian Electric Co. 550 83 PECO Energy 547 84 Allegheny Power 535 85 Direct Energy (Texas) 531 86 Oklahoma Gas & Electric 529 87 Austin Energy 525 88 Columbia Gas of Ohio 523 88 Gaz Metro 523 90 TXU Energy 520 91 Silicon Valley Power 511 92 Toronto Hydro-Electric System Ltd. 488 93 Southwest Gas 487 94 Missouri Gas Energy 485 95 Pedernales Electric 458 96 Dayton Power & Light 440 97 Piedmont Natural Gas 436 98 National Fuel Gas 431 98 Philadelphia Gas Works 431 100 EPCOR 412
Source: “E SOURCE 2009 Review of North American Electric and Gas Company Web Sites”
Charts and graphs extracted from this press release must be accompanied by a statement identifying E SOURCE as the publisher and “E SOURCE 2009 Review of North American Electric and Gas Company Web Sites” as the source. No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of E SOURCE.
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