CMUA survey: Municipal utilities get 10-year high marks from customers during pandemic and other 2020 challenges
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Section: CMUA News

With customers facing multiple challenges — pandemic, wildfires, power shutoffs, high heat, school closures, job losses or working from at home — one might expect that residential customers’ views in 2020 about their municipal electric utilities would have turned out to be mostly unchanged or average compared to the past.

In reality, CMUA’s 11th biennial Statewide Survey of Residential Customers Served by Municipal Utilities, conducted by RKS Research & Consulting, found the exact opposite: Residential customers of California municipal utilities awarded their munis the highest marks in 10 years on a wide range of dimensions.

In the survey, based on more than 2,000 interviews of bill-paying muni and IOU customers between August 4-25, 2020, RKS found:
  • Municipal Utility scores on a wide range of items — customer satisfaction, satisfaction with price, value, trust in the utility, preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic, preparation for wildfires, outages and other emergencies, effective communication — are at or near their 10-year high.
  • Residential customers genuinely appreciate how employees and management of municipal utilities have performed and continue to perform while facing these multiple challenges.
  • The time is right for utilities to continue to communicate with customers to solidify the utility’s position in customers’ minds.
  • An important new segment of opportunity is emerging: Residential customers who want to protect themselves from power outages and are investing their own money in some type of backup capability — either backup generation or energy storage. Statewide, this group is now about 30 percent of muni residential customers and is likely to grow. This trend suggests that customers who are seeking backup capabilities are open to advice and assistance their municipal utility can provide them, further solidifying the muni’s position in customers’ minds as the local expert.

“I think the big takeaway is that customers trust us and want to hear from their local utility,” said Barry Moline, CMUA executive director. “It’s a perilous time. Everyone should step up their customer communications.”

For further information, please contact David Reichman,, (845) 228-1883.