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Several utilities with hydro on Escalent’s new Environmental Dedication Index

The crown jewel of YCWA’s 400-MW Yuba River Development Project is New Bullards Bar Dam and Reservoir, constructed in 1970.

Escalent says customers are scoring utilities significantly higher on environmental stewardship, with the overall industry score improving this year in the company’s Environmental Dedication Index.

This index represents customer ratings on utility efforts to protect the environment. Customers scored their utilities higher on encouraging “green” initiatives for buildings and vehicles and on supporting environmental causes. The Environmental Dedication Index and other findings are from the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential study from human behavior and analytics firm Escalent.

The industry’s overall Environmental Dedication Index score increases to 676 (on a 1,000-point scale) for the first quarter of 2020. However, performance varies greatly among the 140 utilities covered in the study, with 24 significantly increasing their scores this year and 20 significantly decreasing.

“With the ever-growing discussion of environmental issues, customers say utilities are responding well through initiatives and programs that help create a cleaner planet,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Measuring environmental dedication is now essential to doing business, as Wall Street investment houses are tying utility environmental stewardship to utilities’ financial performance.”

Other findings from the study are:

Over 52% of utility customers are strong believers in climate change and, as a group, they score utilities higher (708) on environmental dedication.

Gen Z is the most critical of utility environmental performance, scoring utilities lower than other generations on environmental dedication, while millennials rate utilities highest on providing “products that help the environment.”

Only about one in five consumers is aware of his or her utility’s efforts to lessen the environmental impacts of its services.

About 13% of utility customers say green or net metering rates is their most preferred rate plan.

A total of 140 utilities were studied, and the champions who own hydropower facilities are:

  • AEP Ohio
  • Avista
  • Green Mountain Power
  • Idaho Power
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • RG&E
  • Seattle City Light
  • SMUD
  • Xcel Energy – Midwest
  • Xcel Energy – West

Escalent conducted surveys among 69,620 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts).