PSEG Long Island edged ahead in a national survey of customers over the past year, but is still near the bottom of the pack among large eastern utilities.
PSEG scored 680 of a possible 1,000 points in the most recent JD Power residential customer-satisfaction survey, which interviews hundreds of ratepayers in four quarterly waves starting mid year. Last year, PSEG’s score was 662. PSEG took over management of the LIPA grid in 2014, with a goal of becoming a top-quarter utility in five years.
Only Appalachian Power scored lower in the region, with 678.
But PSEG, which has been the “most improved” utility in the ranking over the past four years, now ranks above 13 other utilities nationally. LIPA had been last among all 117 utilities ranked in the survey when PSEG first took over. The latest JD Power survey includes 30 more utilities that hadn’t previously been covered in the survey.
Jorge Jimenez, director of customer experience, PSEG Long Island, said in a statement the company was “pleased” with its 18-point improvement, noting that scores nationally were up only 1 point.
Asked how the company was doing in its quest to be a top-quarter utility in five years since taking over management of the system, he noted the company is “only 54 points” away from that goal, compared with 134 points when it took over the system. “We are encouraged by our continuous improvement and are confident that on our current trajectory, we will be in the first quartile by 2022 or sooner.”
But PSEG has customer challenges to overcome. Last month hundreds of angry customers rallied against the utility over the 200 giant steel poles PSEG installed with limited public notice in a business district and a bucolic county road in Eastport. And the company was forced earlier this year to back down after fighting a $5,000 small-claims court verdict by a Lynbrook ratepayer who claimed the company was negligent in restoring power to her home, which experienced a surge that fried appliances last fall.
Jiminez nevertheless said improvements in satisfaction were "across all areas of the business."
"We continue to deliver on our mission to provide customers with excellent customer service, best-in-class reliability and storm response, opportunities for energy efficiency and renewables, and local, caring, and committed employees dedicated to giving back to the communities they serve," his statement said.