DTE ranks high for commitment to greener environment

LIVONIA—The utility industry’s commitment to the environment is stronger than ever, according to customers of the nation’s 140 largest utilities. Consumers cite significant improvements on utility support for environmental causes and dedication to clean energy, boosting the industry’s Environmental Dedication score to 688 (based upon a 1,000-point maximum scale).

Each Earth Day, Escalent, the Livonia-based research firm, recognizes the highest-scoring utilities on Environmental Dedication as Environmental Champions. These and other findings are from the Cogent Syndicated 2021 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement Residential study.

Additional findings on desired consumer environmental support and how utilities can respond include:

  • One in five (19%) customers wants an environmentally friendly rate plan (e.g., net metering, green energy, EV, demand).
  • One in three (36%) customers says his or her utility should have a role in EV charging deployment.
  • Over half (58%) of customers are interested in solar energy powering their home.
  • Customers rank “clean environment” as the second most important cause utilities should support, following low-income family support.
  • Natural gas utilities score higher on Environmental Dedication (697) compared with electric (683) and combination electric and natural gas (691) utilities.
  • Two in three (64%) customers want their utility to invest in new technology to reduce climate impact.
  • Few (19%) are aware of their utility’s efforts to minimize the impact of its operations on the environment.

“Utilities are raising the bar on being champions of the environment as their customers learn more about climate change. But there is still a lot of work to do as the industry’s Environmental Dedication score remains one of the lowest of the 15 customer engagement factors we track in our research,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Consumer demand for utility efforts and offerings that help protect the environment is increasing every year. Our Environmental Champion utilities are proving to customers they are up to the challenge.”

The following is a list of the 2021 Environmental Champion utilities. These 31 utilities are the best-in-class at demonstrating their dedication to the environment. Escalent congratulates them on this year’s Earth Day.

Environmental Champion Utility Benchmark Segment Environmental Dedication Index
Cascade Natural Gas Natural Gas West 751
DTE Energy Combination Midwest 747
OUC Electric South 746
NW Natural Natural Gas West 741
TECO Peoples Gas Natural Gas South 740
Green Mountain Power Electric East 734
Kentucky Utilities Electric South 734
Washington Gas Natural Gas East 732
CPS Energy Combination South 731
Pepco Electric East 731
Portland General Electric Electric West 730
Columbia Gas – South Natural Gas South 729
Idaho Power Electric West 728
Piedmont Natural Gas Natural Gas South 728
Florida Power & Light Electric South 726
Seattle City Light Electric West 726
SMUD Electric West 725
PECO Energy Combination East 724
Xcel Energy – West Combination West 723
Elizabethtown Gas Natural Gas East 722
RG&E Combination East 720
Puget Sound Energy Combination West 717
Salt River Project Electric West 717
Peoples Gas Natural Gas Midwest 716
Avista Combination West 713
New Jersey Natural Gas Natural Gas East 713
Columbia Gas of Ohio Natural Gas Midwest 712
PSE&G Combination East 711
Delmarva Power Combination East 708
Toledo Edison Electric Midwest 707
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest Natural Gas Midwest 701

Escalent conducted surveys among 74,224 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 largest utility companies in the United States based on residential customer counts. The sample design uses a combination of quotas and weighting based on U.S. Census data to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Environmental Dedication index score is a composite based upon consumer ratings provided across five survey questions. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

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