Selecting an Electric Provider
Choosing the best electricity provider can be a challenge. While most customers select electricity offers with terms of one year or less, dealing with poor customer service can make it seem like an eternity. Fortunately, residential electricity customers have a number of resources available to help them make a good choice.
J.D. Power Customer Study
Research-minded consumers might consult the annual J.D. Power Retail Electric Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. The results of this study are usually published in August. The only downside is that J.D. Power does not evaluate every electricity provider serving the market. Smaller companies with awesome customer service are sometimes not considered in this study.
The Retail Electric Provider Complaint Scorecard is another source of online information. Published by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the complaint scorecard covers all electric providers serving Texas residential customers. The downside is that it takes a “where there is smoke, there is fire” approach to scoring electric providers. Complaints are only one indication of the overall customer service experience.
Houston Electricity Customers
Houston electricity customers, however, have another source of information to consult when choosing an electricity provider. The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas (BBB) conducts an annual Awards for Excellence program. These awards recognize excellence and quality in the workplace. The BBB believes that businesses exercising best practices in customer service ultimately make our communities better places to live.
The Houston BBB recently announced its 2016 Awards for Excellence winners. The good news for consumers is that several electricity providers were among the award recipients. Champion Energy Services was named a 2016 Pinnacle Winner. Not surprisingly, Champion was also the top Texas retail electricity provider in the 2015 J.D. Power study.
Several electricity providers received 2016 Awards of Distinction from the Houston BBB. These award winners (in alphabetical order) included:
Source Power & Gas
StarTex Power (Constellation)
There appears to be little correlation between the PUCT scorecard and the Houston BBB awards. Champion Energy Services consistently ranks high in the J.D. Power study. It has also been a multi-year Houston BBB award winner. Champion, however, only merits a mediocre rating on the PUCT complaint scorecard.
When selecting an electricity provider, be sure to look beyond the PUCT scorecard. Consider BBB ratings and awards. Seek input from friends and family. Read online reviews and, most importantly, add your candid reviews to sites like ElectricityMatch. A community approach to identifying the best electricity providers benefits us all.