J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Hydro-Québec, Manitoba Hydro and Newfoundland Power Rank Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Residential Electric Utility Companies in Canada

    Providing Comprehensive Information About Power Outages Helps Elevate

    WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, Aug. 28 /CNW/ - Hydro-Québec ranks highest among
large utilities, Manitoba Hydro ranks highest among medium-large utilities,
and Newfoundland Power ranks highest among medium-size utilities in satisfying
residential electric utility customers in Canada, according to the J.D. Power
and Associates 2007 Canadian Electric Utility Residential Customer
Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.
    The inaugural study measures customer satisfaction based on responses
from residential customers served by the 14 largest retail electric utility
companies, which collectively represent more than 10 million residential
customers. In each of the three segments - Large (serving 650,000 residential
customers or more), Medium-Large (serving between 400,000 and 650,000
customers) and Medium (serving 200,000 to 400,000 customers) - customer
satisfaction is measured for six factors, listed in order of importance: power
quality and reliability; price and value; corporate citizenship; billing and
payment; communications; and customer service.
    The study finds that providing comprehensive information to customers can
help mitigate decreases in satisfaction resulting from power outages. Among
customers who called their utility company to report an outage, overall
satisfaction is 55 points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) for customers who
say they received at least four items of information, compared with customers
who report receiving at least one.
    "While weather and other circumstances affecting power quality and
reliability may be out of a utility company's control, managing an outage
situation through effective and thorough communication is within their
capacity, and can go a long way toward increasing customer satisfaction," said
Alan Destribats, vice president of the utility practice at J.D. Power and
Associates. "With only 47 per cent of customers reporting that they recall
receiving a communication from their utility in the previous year, this is a
notable opportunity for improvement throughout the industry."
    Communication regarding a utility company's corporate citizenship
activities also helps increase satisfaction scores. Customers who say that
they are aware of at least one of the four following corporate citizenship
initiatives - donations/sponsorships; improving environmental impact; energy
conservation programs; or building new power plants - provide satisfaction
scores that are 75 points higher than customers who are not aware of their
utility's initiatives.

    Large Utilities

    Among large utilities, Hydro-Québec ranks highest in customer
satisfaction, earning a score of 621 on a 1,000-point scale. Hydro-Québec
performs particularly well in all six factors driving satisfaction.

    Medium-Large Utilities

    Manitoba Hydro ranks highest in customer satisfaction among medium-large
utilities, achieving a score of 625 and performing particularly well in four
of the six factors: billing and payment; communications; corporate
citizenship; and price and value. Following Manitoba Hydro in the rankings are
SaskPower (603), which performs well in customer service, and ENMAX (595),
which performs well in power quality and reliability.

    Medium Utilities

    Newfoundland Power ranks highest among medium utilities in customer
satisfaction, earning a score of 616 and performing particularly well in all
six factors. Also performing above the industry average is Hydro Ottawa, with
550 index points.

    The study also finds several other key patterns:
      -  The average reported bill for electric service is $155 per month.
         Winter and spring bills are reported to be $41 higher on average
         than summer and fall bills.
      -  Customers of medium-size utilities pay the highest reported bill
         amounts - averaging $185 per month - compared with an average of
         $158 per month for large-utility customers and an average of
         $136 per month for medium-large-utility customers.
      -  Approximately 47 per cent of residential customers pay their
         electric bill online through a financial services firm, compared
         with 7 per cent of customers who pay via mail.

    About J.D. Power and Associates

    Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is
an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in
key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance
improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and
satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers
annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance,
health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D.
Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

    About The McGraw-Hill Companies

    Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:   MHP) is a leading
global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial
services, education and business information markets through leading brands
such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power
and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries.
Sales in 2006 were $6.3 billion. Additional information is available at

    No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in
this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and
Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

                 Note: Three charts available upon request.

For further information:

For further information: Media Relations Contacts: Alexandra Cygal, Cohn
& Wolfe, Toronto, Canada, (647) 259-3266, alexandra.cygal@cohnwolfe.ca; Lynn
Bisnaire, Cohn & Wolfe, Toronto, Canada, (647) 259-3267,
lynn_bisnaire@ca.cohnwolfe.com; John Tews, J.D. Power and Associates, Troy,
Mich., (248) 312-4119, john.tews@jdpa.com

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