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|
|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|
|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|
|PECO Energy||Combination East||724|
|Xcel Energy – West||Combination West||723|
|Elizabethtown Gas||Natural Gas East||722|
|Puget Sound Energy||Combination West||717|
|Salt River Project||Electric West||717|
|Peoples Gas||Natural Gas Midwest||716|
|New Jersey Natural Gas||Natural Gas East||713|
|Columbia Gas of Ohio||Natural Gas Midwest||712|
|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.