PSEG’s score on the J.D. Power survey dropped to 710...

PSEG’s score on the J.D. Power survey dropped to 710 of a possible 1,000 in the survey, compared with 737 last year. Credit: James Carbone

PSEG Long Island again ranked last among large eastern utilities in a J.D. Power business customer satisfaction survey, a trend that could cost it bonus money as LIPA trustees raised questions about its performance during a board meeting Wednesday.

The results were reported as the LIPA board was presented the 2023 proposed budget, which increases LIPA's revenue next year to $4.14 billion while projecting lower customer bills next year. Trustees will vote on the budget next month.

PSEG’s score on the J.D. Power survey dropped to 710 of a possible 1,000, compared with 737 last year, according to J.D. Power figures. The surveys are conducted among hundreds of Long Island businesses during two waves over the year.

PSEG was last among 12 large eastern-region utilities, while its sister company, PSE&G of New Jersey, ranked second, with 792. National Grid’s upstate electric utility scored second to last in the eastern ranking.

PSEG’s 710 score also put it second to last among all 87 utilities across the nation, above only Central Maine Power, which had a low score of 597. PSEG also scored near the bottom of J.D. Power’s 2022 residential utility survey, garnering 691 out of 1,000.

PSEG during the LIPA trustee meeting Wednesday expressed disappointment in the results, which, along with a lower-than-targeted score for residential customer satisfaction, could result in a reduction of its performance-based pay for 2022. It’s among the nearly 100 new metrics put in place by LIPA aimed at improving utility performance following failures during Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020.

PSEG’s progress report during the LIPA board meeting showed it was meeting most of the metrics for LIPA, but trustees focused on one critical performance metric that was significantly down thus far for 2022: the time it takes customers to get a live PSEG representative on the telephone when they call with an issue.

The percentage of calls answered by a live agent within 30 seconds dropped by nearly half over the past year, according to figurers released by PSEG for 2022, indicating PSEG is not expected to make the target.

Louis DeBrino, vice president of customer operations for PSEG, said one of the reasons is that PSEG recently began collections operations to recover arrears that ballooned since the COVID-19 pandemic. The volume of calls has increased and the calls are more complex, he said.

But under questioning from board members, DeBrino noted that PSEG staffing for call centers is also down by about 40 people from the typical staff of 130 to 140, and that a new class of 40 reps is being trained.

“Didn’t we anticipate this?” said acting LIPA chairman Sheldon Cohen. “Weren’t there any warning signs? … This is the first line of defense the customer sees. I’m just concerned why we didn’t anticipate this and take action rather than wait until the end of the year.”

“We’re working to recover from this and I believe the plan we have will get us back to a better level of service,” Debrino said.

Carolyn MacKool, director of customer experience oversight at LIPA, called PSEG's results on the metrics for 2022 "mixed," noting strong results on topics such as billing offset by call-center and customer satisfaction issues.

One way to address the low ranking is more "proactive communication" with customers, including about outages and restoration times, she said.

On the call center, she noted PSEG faced challenges with changes in leadership in the division, while remote work for some workers has "led to some complications and hurt performance."

PSEG has improved critical performance levels for reliability, expecting to meet metrics by reducing the frequency and duration of outages, including among people who have multiple outages during the year.

Ricky De Aragon, LIPA's vice president for strategy and performance management, said LIPA has suggested PSEG develop a strategic plan “to address customers’ negative perceptions.”

He noted that PSEG was falling “well short of the minimum standards” in creating “well-designed, robust and thoroughly exercised” disaster recovery and business continuity plans for certain critical systems and processes. “Performance of this metric is falling well short of the minimum standards,” he told trustees.

Another official said there was still work to be done relating to the outage management failures during Isaias. Osman Ahmad, lead Isaias Task Force member for LIPA, said that as of this month, 642 tests run on the outage management system have been completed, with 443, or 69%, passing and 147, or 23%, failing. PSEG said the system is functioning properly and will address the tests LIPA said have failed. More tests are planned for December.

PSEG Long Island again ranked last among large eastern utilities in a J.D. Power business customer satisfaction survey, a trend that could cost it bonus money as LIPA trustees raised questions about its performance during a board meeting Wednesday.

The results were reported as the LIPA board was presented the 2023 proposed budget, which increases LIPA's revenue next year to $4.14 billion while projecting lower customer bills next year. Trustees will vote on the budget next month.

PSEG’s score on the J.D. Power survey dropped to 710 of a possible 1,000, compared with 737 last year, according to J.D. Power figures. The surveys are conducted among hundreds of Long Island businesses during two waves over the year.

PSEG was last among 12 large eastern-region utilities, while its sister company, PSE&G of New Jersey, ranked second, with 792. National Grid’s upstate electric utility scored second to last in the eastern ranking.

PSEG’s 710 score also put it second to last among all 87 utilities across the nation, above only Central Maine Power, which had a low score of 597. PSEG also scored near the bottom of J.D. Power’s 2022 residential utility survey, garnering 691 out of 1,000.

PSEG during the LIPA trustee meeting Wednesday expressed disappointment in the results, which, along with a lower-than-targeted score for residential customer satisfaction, could result in a reduction of its performance-based pay for 2022. It’s among the nearly 100 new metrics put in place by LIPA aimed at improving utility performance following failures during Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020.

PSEG’s progress report during the LIPA board meeting showed it was meeting most of the metrics for LIPA, but trustees focused on one critical performance metric that was significantly down thus far for 2022: the time it takes customers to get a live PSEG representative on the telephone when they call with an issue.

The percentage of calls answered by a live agent within 30 seconds dropped by nearly half over the past year, according to figurers released by PSEG for 2022, indicating PSEG is not expected to make the target.

Louis DeBrino, vice president of customer operations for PSEG, said one of the reasons is that PSEG recently began collections operations to recover arrears that ballooned since the COVID-19 pandemic. The volume of calls has increased and the calls are more complex, he said.

But under questioning from board members, DeBrino noted that PSEG staffing for call centers is also down by about 40 people from the typical staff of 130 to 140, and that a new class of 40 reps is being trained.

“Didn’t we anticipate this?” said acting LIPA chairman Sheldon Cohen. “Weren’t there any warning signs? … This is the first line of defense the customer sees. I’m just concerned why we didn’t anticipate this and take action rather than wait until the end of the year.”

“We’re working to recover from this and I believe the plan we have will get us back to a better level of service,” Debrino said.

Carolyn MacKool, director of customer experience oversight at LIPA, called PSEG's results on the metrics for 2022 "mixed," noting strong results on topics such as billing offset by call-center and customer satisfaction issues.

One way to address the low ranking is more "proactive communication" with customers, including about outages and restoration times, she said.

On the call center, she noted PSEG faced challenges with changes in leadership in the division, while remote work for some workers has "led to some complications and hurt performance."

PSEG has improved critical performance levels for reliability, expecting to meet metrics by reducing the frequency and duration of outages, including among people who have multiple outages during the year.

Ricky De Aragon, LIPA's vice president for strategy and performance management, said LIPA has suggested PSEG develop a strategic plan “to address customers’ negative perceptions.”

He noted that PSEG was falling “well short of the minimum standards” in creating “well-designed, robust and thoroughly exercised” disaster recovery and business continuity plans for certain critical systems and processes. “Performance of this metric is falling well short of the minimum standards,” he told trustees.

Another official said there was still work to be done relating to the outage management failures during Isaias. Osman Ahmad, lead Isaias Task Force member for LIPA, said that as of this month, 642 tests run on the outage management system have been completed, with 443, or 69%, passing and 147, or 23%, failing. PSEG said the system is functioning properly and will address the tests LIPA said have failed. More tests are planned for December.

Latest Videos