Customer trust has increased due to utility’s effective response to coronavirus pandemic
Repeating its top performance for the sixth time, TECO Peoples Gas ranked highest in Brand Trust according to a national survey of residential utility customers by Escalent.
Peoples Gas again received the highest overall score out of the 140 electric, natural gas and combination utilities across the country that are included in Escalent's 2020 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study. More than 70,000 residential utility customers across the country responded to the survey and the top 44 utilities with the highest Brand Trust index scores in the country were named Most Trusted Brands.
"We are so proud to be the trusted energy choice in more than 370,000 Florida homes," said T.J. Szelistowski, president of Peoples Gas. "We work hard every day to deliver safe, resilient, clean natural gas, and while the impact of the pandemic has presented challenges, we have continued to provide this essential service across the state. Thank you for recognizing our efforts."
The study provides a comprehensive view into utilities' relationships with their residential customers, and the Brand Trust index reflects a utility's focus on its customers, community support, effective communications, reliable service, dedication to the environment and its overall reputation.
The final customer surveying period of this year's study occurred as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic were beginning to reach customers. The study results indicate that customers put more trust in utilities that showed an effective response to the pandemic. At the onset of the pandemic, Peoples Gas launched a webpage at peoplesgas.com/updates and communicated extensively to customers, including on social media and customers' bills, to share relevant information about pandemic relief resources and other helpful information. To further assist its customers facing financial hardship due to the pandemic, the company voluntarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment and offered flexible interest-free payment extensions. In partnership with Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas also contributed $1 million to local charities to benefit people financially affected by the pandemic.
Escalent is a human behavior and analytics firm that conducts the Cogent Syndicated studies. Peoples Gas has been named among the Most Trusted Utility Brands in the United States since the study began in 2014 and has topped the list since 2015. The utility also has been repeatedly designated a Customer Champion, Environmental Champion and among the Easiest Utilities in the Nation to Do Business With by the same group.
Peoples Gas System, Florida's largest natural gas distribution utility, serves about 400,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across the state. Peoples Gas is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.