Infographic: Americans rate their utility companies

posted by Dave Llorens on July 5th, 2012

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Power Grade: Americans Rate Their Utility Companies

Unless you live completely off the grid, for better or worse we’ve all got to deal with a utility company. So how are Americans feeling about their power company? And how does that change depending on what company they use and whether they use solar or grid power? One Block Off the Grid polled more than 200 utility customers to find out how they’d grade their utility company.

Making the Grade

Grades were calculated based on responses from more than 200 respondents who were asked to provide a letter grade for their general happiness with their utility company and the company’s commitment to renewable energy sources. The grades were assigned a number based on A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, F=1. Then, average grades were calculated on an adjusted scale.

Grading 10 Powerhouses

Several energy companies are responsible for powering a huge portion of our country. Here’s how 10 major utilities stack up, according to their millions of customers in various markets.

General Happiness With Utility Company

  • Nationwide, people using solar power gave their utility company a “C” grade or a score of 3.4. People using grid power also gave a “C” grade, and a score of 3.3.
  • Con Edison, serving New York City and Westchester County, New York: D (2.4, somewhat unhappy)
  • Dominion Resources, serving parts of Virginia and North Carolina: C (3.4, neutral/average)
  • Entergy Corporation, serving Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas: B (2.9, somewhat happy)
  • Jersey Central Power & Light, serving New Jersey: C (2.8, neutral/average)
  • Long Island Power Authority, serving Long Island, New York: C (2.8, neutral/average)
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, serving Los Angeles, California: C (3.0, neutral/average)
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company, serving Northern California: C (2.6, neutral/average)
  • PECO, serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas: B (3.8, somewhat happy)
  • San Diego Gas & Electric, serving San Diego, California and surrounding areas: B (4.0, somewhat happy)
  • Southern California Edison, serving parts of central, coastal, and southern California: C (2.7, neutral/average)

Utility’s Commitment to Renewable/Green Sources of Energy

  • Nationwide, people using solar power gave their utility company a “C” grade or a score of 3.1. People using grid power also gave a “C” grade, and a score of 2.9.
  • Con Edison: C (2.8, average)
  • Dominion Resources: C (2.8, average)
  • Entergy Corporation: D (2.0, below average)
  • Jersey Central Power & Light: D (2.3, below average)
  • Long Island Power Authority: C (3.3, average)
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power: C (2.5, average)
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company: C (2.8, average)
  • PECO: C (3.0, average)
  • San Diego Gas & Electric: D (2.4, below average)
  • Southern California Edison: C (2.9, average)

Nationwide Report Card: Solar Versus Grid

Overall, utility companies aren’t doing an amazing job in the public’s eyes. Both solar- and grid-powered consumers are lukewarm on their company’s overall performance and commitment to renewables. Fair pricing is a top issue for many, but more than 1 in 10 people using grid power think their company needs to step up its renewable alternatives.

Areas With Room For Improvement

People using solar power:

  • Pricing/fairness of pricing: 34%
  • Clarity of monthly bills: 24%
  • Customer service: 16%
  • Availability of power: 5%
  • Metering issues: 5%
  • Increase renewable options: 3%
  • All of the above: 3%
  • No complaints: 10%

People using grid power:

  • Pricing/fairness of pricing: 46%
  • Clarity of monthly bills: 15%
  • Availability of alternative energy: 13%
  • Availability of power: 9%
  • Customer service: 6%
  • Other: 8%
  • No complaints: 3%

Should Utility Companies Be Able to Charge Households Higher Rates for Renewable/Green Sources of Electricity?

People using solar power:

  • No: 48%
  • Yes: 39%
  • Not Sure: 13%

People using grid power:

  • No: 62%
  • Yes: 22%
  • Not Sure: 16%

Spotlight on Solar

Many homeowners or renters who have switched to solar power report having a smooth experience. However, concerns remain about whether they’re being fairly compensated for energy fed back into the grid.

When asked, “How easy (or difficult) did your utility make it for you to switch to solar?” most solar homeowners gave a grade of “B” or 3.9, saying it was somewhat easy, but there’s room for improvement.

When asked, “How fairly do you think you’re compensated by your utility for the excess solar energy you feed back into the grid?” most homeowners gave their utility a neutral grade of C, or 3.1.

What’s One Block Off the Grid?

One Block Off the Grid makes it convenient and easy to understand and shop for solar energy. One Block Off the Grid offers choices so homeowners can get a free solar estimate however it’s most convenient for them, either online at 1bog.org or by phone at 1-877-444-4002 — without the need for a home visit. Founded in 2008, One Block Off the Grid has helped thousands of homeowners go solar in over 40 U.S. states and continues its track record of offering deals that save homeowners time and money on home solar systems. One Block Off the Grid is the winner of a TreeHugger “Best of Green” award and sponsored the first-ever solar deals on Groupon.com.

By Dave Llorens

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Infographic: Americans rate their utility companies

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