May 3, 2001
For the second year in a row, PPL Electric Utilities has ranked highest in the eastern United States in a major, national, independent study of customer satisfaction among midsize business customers.
This is the second year in which J.D. Power and Associates has conducted the Electric Utility Midsize Business Customer Satisfaction Study™.
PPL Electric Utilities -- a subsidiary of PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL) -- delivers electricity to 1.3 million homes and businesses in eastern and central Pennsylvania.
"We believe the commitment of our employees to serve customers well comes through consistently in customer satisfaction research," said Michael E. Bray, president of PPL Electric Utilities.
"We continually assess the quality of our customer service, using independent research studies such as the J.D. Power and Associates research, as well as our own customer satisfaction research," Bray noted.
For example, PPL Electric Utilities conducts ongoing surveys of random samples of customers who call its customer service center and its industrial and commercial services group. Also, following major storms, it surveys customers who were without power to gauge their opinions of the utility's outage restoration efforts.
"We are always looking for ways to improve our efficiency, our reliability and level of customer service and satisfaction," Bray said. "The J.D. Power and Associates study is one more tool that can more clearly identify what customers want and expect from their electric utility, and how well we do in meeting their expectations."
J.D. Power and Associates asked business customers of the 42 largest investor-owned electric utilities, including 13 in the East, to rate their utility on various attributes of customer satisfaction.
PPL Electric Utilities ranked highest in the East in four of the six key attributes. In spite of a trend toward declining customer satisfaction scores across the country, PPL Electric Utilities' overall score increased from last year. PPL Electric Utilities' primary strength was the price and value attribute.
Study results were based on interviews with representatives of 7,200 midsize businesses across the country. The businesses interviewed have 20 to 250 employees and spend $1,500 to $25,000 a month for electric service. They represent a customer segment of about 425,000 midsize businesses nationwide.
"We deal with a number of electric utilities. In our experience, PPL Electric Utilities provides prompt, helpful and knowledgeable service on a full range of issues that are important to our business, from arranging electric delivery service for new stores to helping us understand our electricity usage," said David A. Ferrante, manager for Energy/Utilities for Ames Department Stores. Ames is a Connecticut-based retailer with more than 20 stores in the area served by PPL Electric Utilities.
"Excellent customer service is a hallmark of PPL companies around the world," noted William F. Hecht, chairman, president and chief executive officer of PPL Corp. "PPL companies here in the U.S. as well as in the United Kingdom and Latin America have been honored for customer service and satisfaction."
Including PPL Electric Utilities in Pennsylvania, PPL owns companies that deliver electricity to nearly 6 million customers around the world: in England, Wales, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil and El Salvador.
Hecht noted that Western Power Distribution, which serves customers in the southwest of England, is the first energy company to earn the United Kingdom's coveted Charter Mark Award -- the government's accolade for customer service -- three times.
Del Sur, PPL's El Salvadoran electric delivery company, has the highest customer service rating among public service companies in that country.
Elfec, PPL's electric delivery company in Bolivia, has the highest customer satisfaction and best financial performance of any public service company in that country and has received ISO-9001 certification for meeting international quality standards.
PPL, through its subsidiaries, owns majority interests in Western Power Distribution, Del Sur and Elfec.
PPL Corp. generates electricity at power plants in Pennsylvania, Maine and Montana; markets wholesale or retail energy in 42 U.S. states and Canada; and delivers electricity to nearly 6 million customers in Pennsylvania, in the United Kingdom and in Latin America.
J.D. Power and Associates, based in Agoura Hills, Calif., is a global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting and customer satisfaction.
"Electric Utility Midsize Business Customer Satisfaction Study" is a trademark of J.D. Power and Associates.NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19981015/PHTH025
SOURCE: PPL Electric Utilities
Contact: George Lewis of PPL, 610-774-5997, or fax, 610-774-5281