PSEG LI customer service still ranks last in J.D. Power survey, but company cites progress

Electrical service on Long Island again ranks last Electrical service on Long Island again ranks last in a national customer satisfaction study, but PSEG Long Island officials are touting progress since the company began managing the grid at the start of this year. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Electrical service on Long Island again ranks last in a national customer satisfaction study, but PSEG Long Island officials are touting progress since the company began managing the grid at the start of this year.

Results of the J.D. Power 2014 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study were released Wednesday, and PSEG and the Long Island Power Authority had a combined score of 532 on a 1,000-point scale -- the lowest of 146 midsize and large utilities across the country.

The average satisfaction rate was 647, up 8 points since 2013.

On Long Island, 1,200 power customers were quizzed in four segments between July 2013 and May. Two segments took place while LIPA was still in charge and a third was conducted early this year, during PSEG's initial transition.

LIPA ceded management of the grid to PSEG following a tumultuous two-year period in which the authority drew intense criticism for its handling of major storms, including superstorm Sandy in 2012.

"Customers have long memories, so it'll take a while to overcome some of the things that were there for LIPA from the hurricane," said John Hazen, a J.D. Power senior director.

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Hazen said there was "significant improvement" in the scores PSEG received in the final segment of the survey, but he declined to provide details, saying JD Power doesn't break down its scores.

PSEG Long Island spokesman Jeffrey Weir said the company's score in the final segment was 556, 63 points better than the final segment in 2013.

Overall, LIPA/PSEG Long Island still scored far below other major Northeast utilities, including PSEG New Jersey, which ranked fifth of 18 in the region with a 646 score. Con Edison in New York City scored 625, just below average.

PSEG Long Island noted in a statement that its score of 532 was an improvement over LIPA's 519 score in 2013.

"We have a lot more to do, but this survey shows that we're headed in the right direction," said PSEG Long Island president Dave Daly.

Daly has said the company is working to improve outreach before major utility projects after receiving criticism for its handling of new cable lines in North Hempstead and East Hampton. PSEG officials also said they're rolling out "improved call center and outage management technologies."

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