The Long Island Power Authority got the lowest customer satisfaction rating among five municipal utilities in the newly released American Customer Satisfaction Index, a national annual survey designed by the University of Michigan.

This is the first year the survey, which is affiliated with the Ross School of Business, has rated municipal and investor-owned utilities separately.

In the municipal utilities category, LIPA got a 65 rating out of a possible 100. The average for the five municipal utilities nationwide chosen for the survey was 73. LIPA scored slightly worse than the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, which got a 66 rating.

And LIPA got the second-lowest customer satisfaction rating of all 34 utilities measured -- including investor-owned companies -- in the nation. Only Pepco Holdings, based in Washington, D.C., got a lower rating.

LIPA's low score came as the survey found that, in general, customer satisfaction with energy utilities increased 0.8 percent to 74.7 on a scale of 1 to 100 in the past year.

Policy for the ACSI is to make public only the customer satisfaction score for each company measured; survey questions and other information are released only to subscribers.

Mark Gross, a LIPA spokesman, asked for comment on the survey, said Wednesday he had not heard of the survey because LIPA had not paid for it.

Gross said a separate study, paid for by LIPA's partner, National Grid, showed an increase of 21 percent in satisfaction among LIPA's business customers. LIPA's paid survey was conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, Gross said.

"We certainly care what our customers think about LIPA. We continue to focus on customer satisfaction and have already seen vast improvement as reported by other nationally recognized surveys in areas such as our customer call centers, power outage communications and awareness of LIPA's energy-efficiency programs," he said. "However, we all know that we still have a lot of work to do."

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