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Electric Utility Customers Largely in the Dark on Climate Sustainability Initiatives, J.D. Power Finds

First-Ever J.D. Power Sustainability Index Measures Customer Awareness and Support for Climate Initiatives of Local Electric Utilities

Last year, American states and utilities made more ambitious clean energy commitments than ever before, with leaders such as New York and California committing to hit 100% renewable energy targets by 2050.1 Despite this significant progress, U.S. electric utility customers currently have very low levels of awareness for the climate sustainability initiatives of their local utilities, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Sustainability Index—Climate, released today.

With this new index focused on ESG (environmental, social and governance), J.D. Power evaluates electric utility customer awareness, support, engagement and advocacy for their local utility’s climate sustainability programs and goals. The index applies to the 35 largest U.S. electric utility companies and cities, each serving 500,000 or more residential customers.

"Consumer awareness and support for the climate sustainability initiatives of their local electric utilities is low," said Andrew Heath, senior director of utilities intelligence at J.D. Power. "Utilities need to address awareness if they hope to achieve the clean energy goals they’ve put in place for the next few decades. These efforts are going to cost money and will require support from rate payers and citizens. Without the support of their customers and other stakeholders, utilities may struggle to achieve their goals."

Following are some key findings of the 2020 index:

  • Consumer awareness and engagement with utility climate initiatives very low: The overall sustainability scores for electric utilities evaluated in the study, which are based on consumer awareness, support, engagement and advocacy for their local utility’s climate initiatives, range from a high of 32 to a low of 19 on a 100-point scale.

  • Most concerned cities: Utility customers in New York City (Con Edison), Los Angeles (Los Angeles Department of Water & Power) and Portland, Ore., (Portland General Electric) have the highest levels of concern regarding climate change.

  • Climate change skeptics: Wyoming and Alabama have the largest percentages of climate change skeptics, with 15% and 11% of respondents, respectively, responding that "there is no climate change."

  • Business customers more engaged in sustainability than residential customers: On average, business utility customers are more aware and supportive of their local utility’s climate sustainability initiatives than residential customers.

  • Highest-scoring utilities: NextEra Energy and Sacramento Municipal Utility District have the highest scores in 2020 with a score of 32 (on a 100-point scale).

The index is based on responses from more than 34,000 business and residential electric utility customers and was fielded from January through May 2020. Following is the full list of electric utility companies and cities that are evaluated, along with their index scores:

Utility

Score

 

NextEra Energy

32

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

32

Con Edison

29

CPS Energy

29

DTE Energy

29

Edison International

29

Portland General Electric

29

Puget Energy

29

Southern Company

29

Xcel Energy

29

L. A. Dept. of Water & Power

28

Sempra Energy

28

CMS Energy

27

Duke Energy

27

Emera

27

Pacific Gas and Electric

27

Pinnacle West

27

Salt River Project

27

Berkshire Hathaway Energy

26

Entergy

26

Exelon

26

Ameren

25

Dominion

25

OGE Energy Corp.

25

PSEG

25

National Grid

24

PPL Corporation

24

Eversource

23

WEC Energy Group

23

AEP

22

Evergy

22

Alliant Energy

21

Duquesne Light

20

FirstEnergy

20

Avangrid

19

For more information about the J.D. Power Sustainability Index—Climate, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/utilities/jd-power-climate-leadership-program.

To view the online press release, please visit http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2020061.

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power has offices serving North America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules: www.jdpower.com/business/about-us/press-release-info

 

1 Source: 2020 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, The Business Council for Sustainable Energy

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200715005294/en/

Contacts

Media Relations Contacts
Geno Effler, J.D. Power; Costa Mesa, Calif.; 714-621-6224; media.relations@jdpa.com
John Roderick; Huntington, NY.; 631-584-2200; john@jroderick.com