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MLGW News Release
Survey results fuel MLGW's eagerness to regain customer service leadership
July 16, 2008
MLGW is eagerly working to reverse a trend revealed in the 2008 J.D. Power and Associates Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Survey. The study ranks MLGW last among medium-sized utilities for the second year in a row. The survey was conducted online and measured six areas of focus as follows: Power and Reliability, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications, Billing and Payment, and Customer Service.

The utility has concentrated on improving customer satisfaction in these key areas since last August when Jerry Collins, MLGW’s President and CEO, implemented a comprehensive strategy to counteract the results of the 2007 survey.

"I can't deny that I'm disappointed with the survey results," said Collins. "But despite our diligence and determination, I also realize that MLGW will not regain the trust and satisfaction of its customers overnight. MLGW has weathered some turbulence in the past few years that will stabilize with time and elbow grease. But we're rebounding well and we're using every resource available to improve customer satisfaction and to monitor and tweak our performance where we find weaknesses."

One of the tools MLGW uses to gauge its performance is the Performance Excellence Scorecard that measures numerous aspects of performance in four focus areas including Customers/Stakeholders, Cost-control, Core Business and Co-worker/Capacity Building. MLGW scored very favorably in the Customer/Stakeholder category for the first quarter of 2008, with scores of 100 percent for Perception and 84.6 percent for Customer Service Delivery. The disparity between these results and those of the J.D. Power survey illustrates the difficulty in obtaining an accurate portrayal of public opinion.

Although relevant and helpful, the J.D. Power Survey results are not an absolute representation of MLGW’s level of customer service since the survey reflects data from only a subset of utilities in the South. For instance, the J.D. Power and Associates study ranks MLGW last in the cost of residential electricity among the 27 utilities surveyed, whereas another 2008 study of 55 public and private utilities – conducted by Jacksonville Energy Authority (JEA), one of the high-ranking utilities in the J.D. Powers survey – showed that MLGW customers pay some of the lowest residential electric rates in the nation. In addition, the J.D. Power study does not reflect the socioeconomic differences or other unique characteristics among the targeted communities that might impact customer perception.

Regardless of survey uncertainties, MLGW is aware of its need to improve customer relations. Some of the utility’s recent efforts include adding a map of local power outages to its website; developing a customer blog site for interactive feedback; implementing paperless billing through e-billing and offering the online My Account feature that enables customers to access personal utility activity, history, analysis, and energy conservation advice.

MLGW also takes the opportunity to learn from the J. D. Power and Associates survey. One of the study’s key objectives is to provide utilities actionable information and insights into ways to better meet customers’ needs. As such, MLGW views the study as a positive tool to identify areas that need improvement. MLGW is committed to addressing these issues and continuously honing its plan so it will once again be a leader in customer service.