TOLEDO, Ohio – Toledo Edison has been recognized by residential customers as a trusted and top performing utility in customer satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study evaluating the performance of electric, natural gas and combination utilities across the country.
Escalent, a consumer research firm, named Toledo Edison to its 2021 Most Trusted Utility Brands list within the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential study, which is based on a nationwide survey of more than 76,000 residential customers of the 140 largest U.S. utility companies. Survey feedback is used to determine a Brand Trust Index score that rates customer focus, community support, communications effectiveness, reliability, environmental dedication and company reputation.
Customer trust in utility companies spiked to the highest score ever on Escalent’s utility Brand Trust Index – 706 on a 1,000-point scale. Toledo Edison earned a score of 713 and was recognized among the top 38 most trusted utilities.
“Our team’s commitment to customers extends far beyond the delivery of safe and reliable electricity, and it’s an honor to be recognized by Escalent after what has been a challenging year for everyone,” said Rich Sweeney, regional president of Toledo Edison. “We were glad to be able to help our customers get back on their feet by temporarily suspending service shutoffs, offering additional financial assistance programs and supporting community organizations that help those impacted by the pandemic, all while delivering the power our customers depended on more than ever as they worked and learned from home.”
The study found that utilities that focused on communications about customer programs, community partnerships during the pandemic and environmental efforts saw the highest increase in customer satisfaction and trust last year. Utilities that offer digital options, like an online account portal and customer support on social media, were rated more favorably by customers.
“Starting active conversations with customers on how their utility can partner with and support them throughout the challenges faced this past year has strongly positioned utilities as trusted energy advisers and great corporate citizens,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “The most trusted utility brands include utilities that are making a positive impact on their customers, communities and financials.”
From the start of the pandemic, FirstEnergy and its electric companies continued to deliver uninterrupted service to customers while prioritizing the health and safety of customers and employees by implementing safety protocols for field crews, utilizing personal protective equipment and following social distancing guidelines. Customer service teams continued to handle customer inquiries from remote workstations.
The FirstEnergy Foundation also infused $2 million into the communities served by its 10 electric companies to provide timely assistance to families and organizations impacted by the pandemic. In 2020, the Foundation accelerated approximately $1.5 million in matching contributions to 116 United Way agencies throughout the company’s six-state territory to help support vital health and human services organizations during the pandemic. Additionally, the FirstEnergy Foundation donated $500,000 to 42 local food banks and hunger centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland, which included $25,000 for the Toledo Northwest Ohio Foodbank.
Beyond the support the company provided throughout the pandemic, Toledo Edison offers the following resources, services and programs year round:
- Online Account Management – The company is committed to making it simple for customers to manage their monthly bill and view payment history and energy usage in one place at www.toledoedison.com. With the online portal, customers can start, stop and transfer service, and sign up to receive electronic bills.
- Bill Assistance Programs – Customers can explore a wide variety of options to maintain their electric service during financial hardship, including manageable payment arrangements and needs-based assistance programs. We encourage them to visit www.firstenergycorp.com/billassist or contact 1-800-447-3333 for more information on these programs.
- 24/7 Power Center – Toledo Edison customers can visit www.firstenergycorp.com/outages to view an outage map for around-the-clock service restoration updates. Customers can also report outages and other power issues from this website or view important information on staying safe through a power outage.
- Social Media Support – Through Toledo Edison’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, customers can learn more about how the company operates, view timely updates during severe weather, engage with a customer service representative and receive a variety of energy-related tips to stay safe and comfortable in all types of weather.
- Energy Efficiency Programs – Toledo Edison offers a variety of resources to help customers make their homes and businesses more energy efficient, while keeping them comfortable, which can be found at www.energysaveOhio.com.