Santee Cooper’s Customers…Really LIKE Santee Cooper.
Facts ARE Facts
Some advocacy organizations continue to work overtime trying to discredit and devalue Santee Cooper, using a mix of innuendo, falsehoods and little regard for reality. Take, for example, social media comments and charges related to Santee Cooper and our relationships with our customers. They’d like you to believe that Santee Cooper’s retail customers – industrial, commercial and residential – are upset and angry. It isn’t true.
Customer satisfaction has always been an important aspect of our service throughout South Carolina. It was true 85 years ago, and it is true today. As a state-owned not-for-profit utility with no shareholders, our focus is squarely on our customers, as it should be. And years of independent market research show that our customers think we are doing a really, really good job. Consider these results from the 2018 retail customer surveys conducted by MarketSearch, the independent research firm that has done our annual satisfaction surveys for years, and come to your own conclusions:
FACT: 100% of Santee Cooper industrial customers expressed overall satisfaction with Santee Cooper.
FACT: 95.2% of Santee Cooper commercial customers expressed overall satisfaction with Santee Cooper.
FACT: 91.8% of Santee Cooper residential customers expressed overall satisfaction with Santee Cooper.
FACT: Our overall rating for residential satisfaction is solidly above the national average and has been for years.
Other research also points to how our customers feel as a result of our intentional emphasis on customer service. In the J.D. Power 2018 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, Santee Cooper’s overall customer satisfaction score ranked No. 1 in South Carolina among large utilities.
In our wholesale business, we have 100 percent satisfaction among the municipal customers we serve – the cities of Seneca, Georgetown, Bamberg, and the 10 member cities of the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency: Abbeville, Clinton, Easley, Gaffney, Greer, Laurens, Newberry, Rock Hill, Union and Westminster. The only customer group with lackluster satisfaction marks is the state’s electric cooperative leadership, which receives the same level of service from Santee Cooper as the municipalities who were 100 percent satisfied. Central Electric Power Cooperative is now suing Santee Cooper to try and get out of a contractual obligation to pay its share of a nuclear project the cooperatives supported building in 2008, and again supported us stopping in 2017. The survey interviews cooperative executives, and even with the ongoing legal challenge, more than half said they are satisfied with us (53.4 percent, up significantly from 2017’s survey).
Are we perfect? No. Do we have some serious challenges ahead? Absolutely. But when it comes to the quality of electric power provided, keeping power outages to a minimum, restoring power when it goes out, and responding quickly to customer questions and problems, Santee Cooper customers clearly appreciate our efforts and say we are doing really well. Beyond basic satisfaction questions, Santee Cooper gets high marks for our energy efficiency programs, for offering renewable energy in our generating mix, for our growing customer-based solar programs and for offering rate options that meet our customers’ needs.
You don’t get these kinds of numbers by being out of touch, archaic and offering little value. You don’t get the commitment and dedication we have from our employees, who are providing that excellent customer service, without them knowing they are delivering a product that customers appreciate. And, in the end, you don’t get this kind of feedback from customers at a host of other utilities. You simply don’t. And that is a fact.