SOURCE: E Source

E Source

November 13, 2013 15:00 ET

E Source Announces Top Electric and Gas Company IVRs

BOULDER, CO--(Marketwired - Nov 13, 2013) -  Utility interactive voice response systems (IVRs) continue to improve, offering customers a better experience than in years past, according to the E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company IVRs: 2013. The top-rated US electric and gas company IVRs belong to Pacific Gas and Electric, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, and Portland General Electric. Union Gas Limited, Nova Scotia Power, and Hydro-Québec operate the top Canadian utility IVRs.

The E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company IVRs: 2013 is based on the company's assessment of 96 utility IVRs. Reviewers searched for and rated 10 key features that residential customers want and expect to find on a utility IVR. The final score for each IVR is a combination of two factors: was the feature available and, if so, how easy was it to use.

The companies in the first quartile showed significant improvement in their scores since the last review in 2011. When scoring these criteria, companies can achieve a maximum of 1,000 points. This year, all of the companies in the first quartile rated above 700 points, with the top company IVR scoring an incredible 913. In 2011, only 8 of 21 utilities in the first quartile scored above 700, with the highest rating being 809.

"The increased effort put forth to make the IVR experience positive is great news for consumers. Although more and more customers are turning to the website to conduct business, there will always be a segment that wants to use the telephone as a contact channel, at least in the foreseeable future," explains Rich Goodwin, manager of Customer Experience & Marketing at E Source. "It's very encouraging to see that utilities haven't given up on this contact channel and continue to improve it."

Several of the top-performing companies in this IVR study also scored in the first quartile in the E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company Residential Websites: 2013. Says Goodwin, "That just reinforces that those companies are trying to provide their customers with a good, consistent experience, no matter what channel the customer chooses."

As technologies continue to evolve, E Source noticed the emergence of well-executed open-response speech-recognition IVRs. "Providing excellent experiences in the IVR means giving customers choice, clarity, and ease of use. Though touch-tone continues to be the most prevalent IVR technology used by utilities, we found that the handful of IVRs implementing well-executed open-response technology received the highest usability ratings," explains Sarah Fiebiger, manager of Market Research Services at E Source.

Regional rankings are as follows:

  • Canada: Union Gas Limited, Nova Scotia Power, Hydro-Québec
  • US, Midwest: DTE Energy, American Electric Power, Peoples Gas
  • US, Northeast: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Public Service Electric & Gas, National Grid
  • US, South: Duke Energy Progress, Florida Power & Light Co., South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCANA)
  • US, West: Pacific Gas and Electric, Portland General Electric, Arizona Public Service

Rankings per utility type:

  • Electric: Portland General Electric, American Electric Power, Florida Power & Light Co.
  • Gas: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Peoples Gas, Union Gas Limited
  • Combined gas and electric: Pacific Gas and Electric, Duke Energy Progress, DTE Energy

2013 Performance Ranking of US and Canadian IVRs 

Functionality and average usability ratings were combined with equal weighting to determine the overall performance index, which has a maximum possible value of 1,000. The IVRs were then ranked in descending order.

         
Rank   Company name   Score
Top quartile
1   Pacific Gas and Electric   913
2   Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania   888
3   Portland General Electric   825
4   Duke Energy   811
5   DTE Energy   797
6   American Electric Power   791
6   Florida Power & Light Co.   791
6   Public Service Electric & Gas   791
9   Arizona Public Service (APS)   775
9   South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCANA)   775
11   Duke Energy Progress   769
12   Peoples Gas   759
13   Vectren   756
14   Southern California Edison   750
15   Union Gas Limited   742
16   National Grid   728
16   Southern California Gas Co.   728
18   Cleco Power LLC   725
18   PacifiCorp   725
20   Wisconsin Public Service   713
21   NIPSCO   707
21   Nova Scotia Power   707
21   PECO   707
21   PPL Electric Utilities   707
21   Silicon Valley Power   707
         
         
         
Rank   Company name   Score
Second quartile    
26   MidAmerican Energy   697
27   Avista   696
28   CenterPoint Energy   686
29   Hydro-Québec   681
30   FortisBC   675
31   Idaho Power Co.   671
31   Sacramento Municipal Utility District   671
33   Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.   666
33   ComEd   666
33   Indianapolis Power & Light Co.   666
33   NorthWestern Energy   666
33   Seattle City Light   666
38   Black Hills Energy   654
38   Énergie NB Power   654
38   Gainesville Regional Utilities   654
38   Xcel Energy   654
42   Memphis Light Gas & Water Division   644
43   Newfoundland Power   638
44   Ameren Missouri   636
45   OG&E   633
46   Pepco Holdings   618
46   We Energies   618
48   Dayton Power and Light Co.   613
48   NW Natural   613
         
         
         
Rank   Company name   Score
Third quartile    
50   NV Energy   603
51   Ameren Illinois   600
52   Entergy Corp.   592
53   KCP&L   582
54   NSTAR   575
54   San Diego Gas & Electric   575
56   Nashville Electric Service   571
57   SRP (Salt River Project)   567
58   BC Hydro   564
58   Southwest Gas Corp.   564
60   Atmos Energy   550
60   Hydro One   550
60   Hydro Ottawa   550
60   Nicor Gas Co.   550
60   Oklahoma Natural Gas   550
60   Toronto Hydro Electric System   550
60   Washington Gas   550
67   Austin Energy   529
67   Duquesne Light   529
67   Jersey Central Power & Light   529
67   Philadelphia Gas Works   529
67   Westar Energy   529
72   Georgia Power   525
72   New Mexico Gas Co.   525
72   New York State Electric & Gas   525
72   SaskPower   525
         
         
         
Rank   Company name   Score
Fourth quartile    
76   Tampa Electric Co.   511
77   Long Island Power Authority   508
78   Alliant Energy   500
78   Laclede Gas   500
78   Los Angeles Department of Water and Power   500
78   Manitoba Hydro   500
78   Questar Gas   500
83   Consolidated Edison Co. of New York (Con Edison)   483
84   Consumers Energy   481
84   Enbridge Gas Distribution   481
84   Piedmont Natural Gas   481
84   Puget Sound Energy   481
88   Alabama Power   475
89   Dominion   450
89   PNM   450
91   ENMAX   425
92   EPCOR   400
93   CPS Energy   388
94   TXU Energy   317
95   Reliant Energy   288
96   Direct Energy   225
         

Source: "E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company IVRs: 2013"
Charts and graphs extracted from this press release must be accompanied by a statement identifying E Source as the publisher and "E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company IVRs: 2013" as the source. No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of E Source.

For more information about this comprehensive study, please visit www.esource.com/IVR_Review_History.

About E Source
For 25 years, E Source has been providing unbiased, objective research and advisory services to over 300 utilities and large energy users. Our energy experts have answered more than 8,000 questions over the past 3 years. This guidance helps our customers advance their efficiency programs, enhance customer relationships, and use energy more efficiently.

Contact Information

  • Public Relations Contact
    Kym Wootton
    Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications
    E Source
    kym_wootton@esource.com
    303-345-9168