LIVONIA, Mich., Dec. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new Cogent Syndicated study from Escalent underscores how important it is for utilities to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. After reaching a peak in 2021, the industry Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) Index among business customers dropped a significant eight points to 778 (on a 1,000-point maximum scale), with the decline largely attributed to customers feeling less certain that utilities are committed to using environmentally friendly energy. Escalent’s ECR Index is a comprehensive customer relationship measurement used by utility management to assess customer engagement. Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business tracks the performance of 82 gas, electric and combination utilities to identify brand and customer experience opportunities and trends in the industry. The study is published semiannually by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm with extensive energy and utility experience. The majority (81%) of businesses have energy-related plans (e.g., sustainability plans, climate plans, and/or emergency response/business continuity plans) in place, and these same businesses have the greatest decline in ECR. The decline in ECR, led by environmental perceptions, indicate that these energy-conscious businesses are increasingly concerned about whether their utility is in lock-step with them on improving environmental performance. “Leadership during the energy transition is becoming table stakes for business customers, as they are making it clear that environmental performance is increasingly important to them,” said K.C. Boyce, vice president at Escalent. “And while they aren’t necessarily naming ‘leadership through the energy transition’ as an important brand trait for utilities, their perceptions and behaviors such as increased preference for non-utility providers of energy products and services indicate they certainly expect leadership to occur.” While overall the industry ECR is declining, the 15 Business Customer Champion utilities recognized today have seen increases in engagement from last year. These utilities are effectively talking to their customers about a number of things, including renewable and green energy. The customers of these top-performing utilities view them as significantly more committed to using environmentally friendly energy (+0.41 on a 0-to-10-point scale vs. the industry average) and being committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels (+0.50 vs. the average). Today, Escalent is pleased to name 15 utilities as 2022 Business Customer Champions. Escalent 2022 Business Customer ChampionsAmeren IllinoisGeorgia PowerBGEMidAmerican EnergyCenterPoint Energy – MidwestPuget Sound EnergyCenterPoint Energy – SouthSalt River ProjectCon EdisonSeattle City LightConsumers EnergyWe EnergiesDuke Energy MidwestXcel Energy ColoradoFlorida Power & Light * Utilities named as Business Customer Champions are selected based on having Engaged Customer Relationship Index scores in the top decile of the industry, the top score within their respective benchmark segment, or an Engaged Customer Relationship Index score within 20 points of the top benchmark segment score and above the industry average. EAST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance Utility brand nameECR scoreCon Edison828BGE818PECO Energy799PSE&G798National Grid783Jersey Central Power & Light781PSEG Long Island772Eversource Energy770Penelec769PPL Electric Utilities766Duquesne Light755West Penn Power743Appalachian Power711NYSEG711 MIDWEST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance Utility brand nameECR scoreWe Energies814Consumers Energy808MidAmerican Energy804Duke Energy Midwest803Ameren Illinois796AES Indiana785Ameren Missouri785Evergy783DTE Energy782The Illuminating Company779Ohio Edison773ComEd770Xcel Energy – Midwest765Indiana Michigan Power763Wisconsin Public Service758NIPSCO756Alliant Energy755AEP Ohio755AES Ohio745OPPD732 SOUTH REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance Utility brand nameECR scoreFlorida Power & Light813Georgia Power799TECO Tampa Electric789Mississippi Power789Dominion Energy South Carolina787Duke Energy Carolinas787Duke Energy Florida783Kentucky Utilities778CPS Energy776Public Service Company of Oklahoma775OG&E775Duke Energy Progress773Dominion Energy Virginia768Alabama Power767El Paso Electric763JEA751Entergy751Southwestern Electric Power Company749Louisville Gas & Electric730FPL Northwest FL726 WEST REGION: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance Utility brand nameECR scoreSeattle City Light847Puget Sound Energy829Salt River Project829Xcel Energy Colorado823Los Angeles Department of Water & Power813Pacific Power797SMUD793APS793NorthWestern Energy783Rocky Mountain Power782NV Energy777Southern California Edison770PG&E769SDG&E755Portland General Electric755PNM751Idaho Power730Colorado Springs Utilities716 NATURAL GAS UTILITIES: Customer Engagement Benchmark Performance Utility brand nameECR scoreCenterPoint Energy – South816CenterPoint Energy – Midwest802Dominion Energy North Carolina791Dominion Energy Ohio788Dominion Energy West782Virginia Natural Gas779Nicor Gas773Chattanooga Gas Company765 About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: BusinessEscalent conducted surveys among 18,035 business electric and natural gas utility customers of 82 US utility companies. Utilities within the same region are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. The Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) Index is a composite score based upon a 360-degree customer review of how engaged businesses are with their energy utility provider. Scores are composed of ratings across service satisfaction, brand and product experiences. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request. About EscalentEscalent is an award-winning data analytics and advisory firm that helps clients understand human and market behaviors to navigate disruption and business transformation. As catalysts of progress for more than 40 years, our strategies guide the world’s leading brands. We accelerate growth by creating a seamless flow between primary, secondary, syndicated, and internal business data, providing consulting and advisory services from insights through implementation. Based on a profound understanding of what drives human beings and markets, we identify actions that build brands, enhance customer experiences, inspire product innovation and boost business productivity. Visit escalent.co to see how we are helping shape the brands that are reshaping the world.