Category Archives: utility

Lisa O'Leary AGA Members Recognized in J.D. Power Customer Service Satisfaction Survey

Interaction with a customer service representative on the phone has driven satisfaction up significantly among natural gas utility business customers, according to the 2015 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, created by J.D. Power and Associates.

Now in its 10th year, the study released in February measured residential customer satisfaction with gas utility companies by looking at six factors: billing and payment; field service; communications; customer service; corporate citizenship; and price.

Each utility company included in the study serves at least 25,000 business customers, or 3.4 million in total and were ranked in four geographic regions: East, Midwest, South and West. This year’s study was based on responses from more than 9,000 online interviews with business customers who spent at least $150 monthly on natural gas.

American Gas Association (AGA) members PSE&G (East), DTE Energy (Midwest), Alagasco (South), and Questar (West) ranked highest in overall satisfaction. Additional AGA members who were ranked among the top three in their respective region included: BG&E, National Fuel Gas Company, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy, Oklahoma Natural Gas, Atmos Energy, NW Natural, and Southwest Gas.

According to the study, satisfaction improves year over year for a majority of attributes that comprise the customer service factor, including courtesy of the representative; the representative’s concern for customer needs; the timeliness of resolving the problem, question, or request; and the promptness in speaking to a person. Another key finding of the study revealed that customer satisfaction with billing and payment is higher when statements include useful information, such as graphs or pictures.

AGA members deliver clean, efficient and affordable natural gas to more than 68 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in the U.S., and are true partners in the communities they serve, some for as many as 100 years.

To learn more about the 2015 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, click here.

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Dave McCurdy Foundation Fuel for a Sustainable Energy in America

I am proud to participate again in the launch of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. As always, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has put together a detailed look at our nation’s energy picture and an expert discussion of the path we are on. The only way to examine this path is through a fact-based dialogue, and this report has once again reinvigorated this discussion.

BCSE Factbook

The Sustainable Energy in America Factbook continues to prove that growth in renewable energy can happen simultaneously with a growth in natural gas and a strong U.S. economy. Between 2007 and 2014, U.S. carbon emissions from the energy sector dropped 9 percent, U.S. natural gas production rose 25 percent and total U.S. investment in renewables and other clean energy technologies was more than $385 billion. Natural gas is a foundation fuel and working alongside renewables and energy efficiency it provides an incredible opportunity to deliver the essential energy that will help drive economic growth while protecting the environment.

2014 was another record year for natural gas use. In the midst of the ‘polar vortex’ in January of last year, the natural gas delivery system set daily, weekly, and monthly records. Natural gas reliability was tested, but local utility customers throughout the country continued to receive dependable service at affordable prices. Diligent planning and preparedness of natural gas utilities and the strategic use of underground storage made sure resources were available during peak demand periods. At year end, natural gas demand hit 66.9 Bcf per day, an increase of 1.8 Bcf per day compared to 2013. The natural gas industry is responding, building and reconfiguring infrastructure to reflect the changes of this shifting and rapidly expanding market including changes to how we move gas around the country.

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This national trend is made possible by the work being done in communities throughout our country. Using natural gas in your home or business saves money and reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.  Local utilities are delivering these energy solutions every day to customers across the nation.

Thank you to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy for leading this dialogue about how our nation can remain on the path towards sustainability. Natural gas utilities will continue to serve our customers safely and reliably and remind policymakers at every level of the inherent benefits of the direct use of natural gas.

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Jake Rubin Understanding Your Natural Gas Bill

More than 177 million Americans use natural gas to cook a hot meal, heat their water or warm their houses. Many parts of the country have felt the chill of winter and that means folks are using more natural gas. The American Gas Association has developed a video to explain what goes into your natural gas bill.

Your bill is essentially comprised of three parts:

  1. Gas you used: Often, the largest part of your bill is based on the amount of natural gas you use each month. The United States has an abundance of clean natural gas and that has led to stable and affordable prices. Utilities do not make a profit on the gas they deliver to your home or business.
  2.  Delivery cost: The public utility commission, a group of elected or appointed officials, sets the rate that your utility can charge each month. Included in this cost is maintenance, upgrades of the pipes that deliver natural gas to your home or businesses and everything else that is needed to help ensure safe and reliable delivery of natural gas.
  3.  Local, state and federal taxes.

During the 2013-14 Winter Heating Season, the natural gas delivery system in the United States achieved historic levels of performance. More natural gas was delivered through more pipelines to more customers than ever before, and customer bills remained affordable. Residential customer bills increased only 10 percent on average from the prior winter – an increase mostly due to higher consumption.

AGA expects relatively warmer temperatures this winter based on information from the climate Prediction Center, which may lead to a reduction in demand. Natural gas prices are likely to be slightly higher, resulting in an increase in customer bills of about seven percent this winter.

Promise Delivered is an AGA study of the planning, preparation and performance of the natural gas system during the 2013-14 Winter Heating Season. Utilities work all year to prepare for the possibility of extreme temperatures and employ a portfolio approach to help ensure they can meet the needs of their customers at affordable prices on the coldest days of the year. Before last year’s extraordinary winter concluded, they were already preparing for this winter cycle.

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Lisa O'Leary Vectren Named 2014 Business of the Year Honoree

Dayton Business of the Year AwardAGA members are partners in their communities, many who have served their customers for more than 100 years. Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio has been recognized for its role in the community, being named a 2014 Business of the Year honoree by The Dayton Business Journal. Vectren is an award recipient in the category of “Community Supporter” along with the Heidelberg Distribution Company and The Standard Register Company.

Honorees are selected by a panel of guest judges and The Dayton Business Journal Editorial Board. The category winners are selected by a panel of outside judges who were selected from a group of 10 Regional Leader of the Year honorees for this year’s program.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Business of the Year awards program will culminate with a black-tie gala honoring the winners and other influential business leaders from prestigious small and large businesses on November 6 in Dayton, Ohio. At that time, the first, second and third place winners of each category will be revealed. Profiles of the finalists and winners will be published in a special Business of the Year supplement on November 7.

Please join AGA in congratulating Vectren for being selected as an honoree, as well as wishing them good luck in the “Community Supporter” category.

If your utility has recently been honored or won an award, please let AGA know in the comments section below or be e-mailing ldundon@aga.org.

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