As your Electric Cooperative, we strive to provide members with a very reliable and cost effective electric energy supply. In order to see how well your Cooperative is performing, the membership is surveyed every two years to receive feedback regarding the service they receive. The Cooperative also participates in a Residential Retail Rate Study with 24 other Electric Cooperatives in Illinois. This month, I would like to share the results of the most recent member survey and Residential Retail Rate Study.
Every few years, the Cooperative membership is surveyed by an independent survey firm in order to determine what areas of our operation need improvement. In the summer of 2011, 989 survey questionnaires were mailed to randomly selected members of SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative, in all 276 completed surveys were returned for a completion rate of 27.9%. Respondents were dispersed throughout the service territory with responses from 41 different zip codes.
These results revealed an increase in overall satisfaction with 86% of members being satisfied with the Cooperative. The American Customer Satisfaction Index responses resulted in a score of 82. In comparison, the average Illinois Electric Cooperative score was 79 while investor-owned utilities had a score of 74 and municipal utilities had a score of 73. The survey respondents gave the Cooperative the highest ratings for having knowledgeable employees, excellent customer service and prompt outage response. While these numbers are very good, your Cooperative will continue to strive to improve the level of service members receive.
The survey revealed that 79% of members said they prefer the Cooperative use lower cost generation, rather than renewables, to try to hold down electric rates while only 10% felt it was more important to use renewables that may cost more. The remaining 11% did not have a preference in this area. The survey also revealed that 86% of the membership would not be willing to pay more than $10 per month to use more renewable energy. Approximately 96% of the membership has taken steps to reduce energy consumption including turning off lights and other appliances when not in use, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, changing thermostat settings or installing programmable thermostats and by weatherizing their homes.
The use of electric water heaters continues to increase, now the highest level of all previous surveys at 82%, leading propane at 13% and natural gas at 5%. Electricity also continues to be the primary home heating source, increasing to 57%, with propane at 25% and natural gas at 9% while remaining members heat with wood stoves, fireplace, etc.
When asked if what you presently pay for other household goods and services including other energy sources, would you say that electricity from SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative is less economical, about in line or more economical, approximately 52% felt that it was about in line, 40% felt it was more economical while 8% felt it was less economical. Unlike other electric utility business structures that strive to produce profits for investors, your cooperative is a not-for-profit organization that strives to provide the highest level of reliable, quality service at rates just high enough to cover the costs of operation. Your Cooperative will continue to strive to provide reliable electric service at the most reasonable cost.
Lastly, your Cooperative just received the results of the Residential Retail Rate Study for Illinois Electric Cooperatives. I am pleased to inform you that your Cooperative's standard residential retail rate was ranked the 3rd lowest out of 25 Electric Cooperatives in Illinois that participated in the study.
Your Cooperative remains committed to finding new and better ways to serve its members. Your Cooperative will continue to work diligently to improve and enhance the level of service and reliability that you receive while keeping rates as affordable as possible.
See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."
SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative 2007. All rights reserved.