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Lower Rates Driving Increased Satisfaction Among Texas Retail Customers with Choice; JD Power Reports Top-Ranked REPs

By: EnergyChoiceMatters.com |

“Price is the primary reason that satisfaction is higher among customers who use a Texas retail electric provider than among those who use a regulated utility,” J.D. Power said in releasing its 2013 Texas Residential Retail Electric Provider Customer Satisfaction Study

Overall satisfaction among customers of retail residential electric providers (REPs) in Texas is 682 (on a 1,000-point scale), an increase of 4 points from 2012. This is the highest score since the study was first published in 2008.

Customer satisfaction with price, a primary driver of satisfaction in the study, increased 20 points from 2012 to 684. J.D. Power said that, “The average perceived price per kilowatt hour (kWh) has declined to 10.4 cents in 2013 from 10.7 cents in 2012.”

Texas electric retail providers outperform regulated utilities in Texas by 114 points in the price factor (684 vs. 570, respectively).

“Deregulation of the residential electric market in Texas opened the doors to healthy price competition and also focused residential customers on finding the cost savings and service programs that match their needs,” said Chris Oberle, senior director of the energy practice at J.D. Power.

Matters notes that this satisfaction with price, and notably price competition, would be jeopardized by imposing administrative pricing on the market, such as through a capacity market, where pricing for a large component of the customer bill would no longer be the result of competition among competing REPs, but rather a uniform rate resulting from a government-designed intersection of various “market” parameters.

Other key findings from J.D. Power include that nearly two-thirds (60%) of new customers who enrolled for service within the past 12 months had service with another retail electricity provider. The main reason customers cite for selecting their provider is a lower price (61%).

Champion Energy Services ranks highest among retail electric providers in Texas for a fourth consecutive year, with a score of 764. Champion Energy Services performs particularly well in price; billing and payment; enrollment/renewal; customer service; and communications. Following in the rankings are Green Mountain Energy (737) and Bounce Energy (736).

The 2013 Texas Residential Retail Electric Provider Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 7,708 residential customers of electric retailers in Texas. The study was fielded between September 2012 and June 2013.

Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Scores J.D. Power.com Power Circle Ratings
Champion Energy Services 764 5
Green Mountain Energy 737 4
Bounce Energy 736 4
StarTex Power 730 4
Brilliant Energy 720 4
Ambit Energy 714 4
Cirro Energy 714 4
Stream Energy 711 4
Spark Energy 704 4
Amigo Energy 703 4
Tara Energy 689 3
Reliant Energy Retail 686 3
Gexa Energy 684 3
Texas Power 683 3
Industry Average 682 3
Direct Energy 679 3
>YEP Energy 671 3
Southwest Power & Light 667 3
First Choice Power 661 3
TXU Energy 656 3
Dynowatt 652 3
CPL Retail Energy 650 2
Energy Plus 633 2
Just Energy Texas 629 2
WTU Retail Energy 612 2

Source: J.D. Power 2013 Texas Residential Retail Electric Provider Customer Satisfaction Study

Index scores based on a 1,000-point scale.

Power Circle Ratings Legend
5 – Among the best
4 – Better than most
3 – About average
2 – The rest