J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Large Electric Utility Providers
Outperform Midsize Providers In Residential Customer Satisfaction in Canada

Manitoba Hydro and Newfoundland Power Each Rank Highest in Their Respective Segments

TORONTO, July 29 /CNW/ - Residential customers of large electric utility companies in Canada are notably more satisfied than customers of midsize providers, largely due to differences in price, communications and awareness of utility corporate citizenship efforts, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Canadian Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

The study measures customer satisfaction based on responses from residential customers served by the 16 largest electric utility companies, which collectively represent more than 12 million residential customers. In each of the two segments - large (serving 500,000 residential customers or more), and midsize (serving 125,000 to 499,999 customers) - customer satisfaction is measured for six factors, listed in order of importance: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service.

Overall satisfaction among residential customers of large electric utility companies averages 620 on a 1,000-point scale in 2010 - 28 points higher than satisfaction among customers of midsize electric utilities. The most notable difference in satisfaction between the two segments occurs in the corporate citizenship factor, in which large utilities, as a whole, outperform midsize utilities by 47 points (567 vs. 520, respectively).

"Large utility companies appear to be particularly effective at communicating with their customers about energy efficiency programs, the utility's impact on the environment and corporate citizenship efforts," said Adrian Chung, senior manager of the energy practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "While utility companies are expected to provide reliable and affordable electric service, customers may not necessarily have these types of expectations regarding their utility's community involvement. Raising customer awareness about ways in which the provider benefits the communities they serve help demonstrate the utility's value and is critical to elevating satisfaction."

The study finds that customer-reported bill amounts vary considerably between the two segments. Customers of large utilities indicate their average monthly bill in 2010 is $158, compared with $168 for customers of midsize utilities.

Fulfilling key performance indicators may have a substantial positive impact on customer satisfaction with electric utility companies. In particular, among customers who say that their utility delivered on five key performance indicators - such as making customers aware of community outreach activities and conservation programs - satisfaction averages more than 200 points higher than satisfaction among customers whose utilities performed only one key indicator.

Large Utilities

Among large utilities, Manitoba Hydro ranks highest in customer satisfaction, achieving a score of 650 and performing particularly well in four of the six factors: power quality and reliability, price, corporate citizenship and communications. Following Manitoba Hydro in the segment rankings are BC Hydro (641) and Hydro-Québec (637). BC Hydro performs particularly well in the billing and payment and customer service factors.

Midsize Utilities

Newfoundland Power ranks highest among midsize utilities in customer satisfaction, earning a score of 660 and performing particularly well in all six factors. Also performing above the industry average is SaskPower, with 625 index points.

The study also finds several other key patterns:

    -   Electronic-based communications from utilities - such as e-mails,
        text messages and website banner ads - are notably more satisfying to
        customers than communications issued from traditional media channels
        such as newspapers, radio and television.
    -   Among customers who experienced a power outage and were provided an
        estimated time of restoration, nearly eight in 10 indicate power was
        restored early or on time.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company'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 global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

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: Two charts available upon request.

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates

For further information: For further information: Media Relations Contacts: Andrea Herman, Cohn & Wolfe, Toronto, Canada, (647) 259-3301, andrea.herman@cohnwolfe.ca; John Tews, J.D. Power and Associates, Troy, Mich, (248) 312-4119, media.relations@jdpa.com

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