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PSEG LI rises in JD Power customer satisfaction rankings

PSEG/LIPA power lines span the sky in Commack,

PSEG/LIPA power lines span the sky in Commack, Dec. 2, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

PSEG Long Island increased its ranking in a recent two-month snippet of a leading customer satisfaction survey to the highest level since taking over management of the LIPA system in 2014.

PSEG scored 694 on the JD Power July-August residential satisfaction survey, 32 points above its overall score for the prior 12 months, according to a presentation the company recently gave to LIPA. The survey, which takes place in four two-month “waves” starting in the summer, ranks utilities using a potential high-score of 1,000.

The latest increase puts PSEG in 11th place among the 17 largest eastern utilities and puts it ahead of utilities such as upstate National Grid, Pepco, Eversource Energy, Appalachian Power and Jersey Central Power & Light. PSEG must keep the score at that high level for the next three waves to maintain that status for the full-year survey.

PSEG has lagged at the back of the pack in prior year surveys, ranking last and, more recently third from last for the prior full-year survey, even as its sister company, PSE&G of New Jersey, has scored among the highest. From 2014 through mid-2016, it scored as low as 576 in customer satisfaction among residential customers. But the numbers have consistently increased over the past year, primarily into the 660-range over the past year, before spiking to 694 this summer.

The latest results put PSEG within 36 points of hitting its goal of being among the top four large utilities in the east.

PSEG gets extra compensation from LIPA ratepayers from hitting JD Power satisfaction targets. Over the past two years it has received more than $8 million in bonus compensation, even as it has missed measures of customer outage duration and frequency. The satisfaction and outage scores are among 24 different pay metrics.

Most of the gain from the 667 PSEG scored in the fourth wave of 2016 related to power quality and reliability — more than 9 points of the increase — followed by billing and payment (6.38 points), communication (3.43 points) and price (3.04 points).

“It tells us that the operating metrics are valid and we are truly improving the operation,” said David Daly, the former chief operating officer of PSEG Long Island, on the eve of his departure to the same role at PSE&G earlier this month. He was replaced on Long Island by Daniel Eichhorn, former vice president of customer services.

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