Market Strategies International


Cogent Reports: Utility Industry Environmental Dedication Rates Low Among Consumers

32 of 130 utilities are top-scoring Environmental Champions


The utility industry’s dedication to the environment is not highly rated by utility customers. The 2016 Environmental Dedication index is only 681 (based on a 1,000-point scale), and while this reflects an increase from last year’s 677 index, it greatly lags other utility management performance indicators. For instance, the same research shows Satisfaction with utility operations scoring 83 points higher than Environmental Dedication, indicating there is significant room for utilities to grow regarding their dedication to the environment. These findings are from Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential, a Cogent Reports™ study by Market Strategies International.

Overall, the study shows significant apathy and a lack of awareness among consumers in relation to the environmental efforts that utilities are heavily investing in. However, 32 electric, natural gas and combination utilities (of the 130 utility brands surveyed) score high enough to earn the Environmental Champions badge of honor.

“The problem utilities face is that few customers are aware of the significant efforts they have made to improve their environmental stewardship,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International's energy research division. “But utilities don’t have a receptive audience on their environmental efforts, as only 14% of utility customers say they consider the environmental impact of their purchases, and only 30% of customers pay attention to the environmental activities that utilities are engaged in. So, it is clear that consumers are not proactively seeking out to understand utility-based environmental efforts.”

However, there is a way for utilities to proactively grow environmental dedication. Customers say the most important cause their utility should support is promoting a “clean environment,” which means customers are open to utilities promoting environmental activities within their local communities. Additionally, customers who use utility offerings around distributed energy, consumption management, and solar have a higher appreciation for their utility’s environmental efforts. So, education on these offerings by utilities will increase lagging immediate demand for them and build environmental dedication perceptions among customers.

Cogent Reports would like to congratulate the 32 utility Environmental Champions that were voted by their customers as having exceptional dedication to the environment.


Environmental Champions in alphabetical order: (Electric) Florida Power & Light, Georgia Power, Indianapolis Power & Light, Kentucky Utilities, Nashville Electric Service, OG&E, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, PPL Electric Utilities, Seattle City Light; (Natural Gas) Alagasco, Atmos Energy – Midwest, CenterPoint Energy – Midwest, Columbia Gas of Ohio, National Fuel Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas, NW Natural, Piedmont Natural Gas, Questar Gas, SoCalGas, South Jersey Gas Company, Southwest Gas, TECO Peoples Gas, Virginia Natural Gas; (Combination) Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Louisville Gas & Electric, MidAmerican Energy, NYSEG, Puget Sound Energy, RG&E, Vectren

About the Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential study

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 54,965 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 130 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses US census data and strict quotas 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 in order to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.

For more information on the full report, review an overview:

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