Engaging Customers

Number of PG&E customers who receive customized energy reports that compare their energy use with similar nearby homes

Our customers reflect the rich diversity of California’s communities and its economy. As we strive to better serve customers where they live and work, we are focused on understanding and responding to their different needs with the goal of improving their overall customer experience.

Our Approach

Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Chief Customer Officer leads our effort to deliver the desired experience for each customer. This includes localizing our presence and strategies in the communities we are privileged to serve, continuously integrating customer feedback into our products and services, and leading an ongoing effort to drive long-lasting customer engagement and satisfaction.

University Students Inspire PG&E through First-of-Its-Kind Competition

(Photo by Britta Victor)

Students from 12 universities across PG&E’s service area spent the day in a competition to identify ways for PG&E to engage its customers on energy efficiency. The event was facilitated by Net Impact, a global nonprofit that empowers a new generation to work within and beyond business for a sustainable future.

Serving Customers Locally

We are formally empowering our organization to work more effectively at the local level and to better incorporate local needs and concerns into our operating decisions. This involves building local cross-functional leadership teams who meet regularly to address local issues. The teams are led by local managers and include representatives from our core lines of business and support organizations. Four overarching regional teams provide strategic guidance and direction.

Saving Customers Energy and Money

We continue to offer a full portfolio of savings options for customers, including some of the nation’s leading programs and incentives for energy efficiency, demand response and installation of solar and other distributed generation. We have also asked permission from the CPUC to offer a Green Option that would allow customers to buy 100 percent renewable energy.

Making It Easy

As we take advantage of new technologies to help customers understand, manage and reduce their energy use, we are increasingly reaching out to them through a growing variety of channels, including mobile phones, email and web, and traditional media.

We provide the vast majority of customers with access to hourly data on their energy use, and a comparison of their use to similar homes in their neighborhoods. Within My Energy, customers can see how and when they use energy and find energy saving tips as well as information on our energy efficiency programs and incentives. PG&E’s Business Energy Checkup enables small and medium business customers to find energy-saving ideas that can lower their operating costs, and programs that offer financial incentives to implement them.

We have also redesigned our bill to provide clearer and easier-to-understand information, and we continue to offer numerous options for customers to pay their bills, including a smartphone app. PG&E is also improving its mobile website so customers can get real-time outage information on their mobile devices, in addition to new capabilities for bill payment.

In addition to planned digital offerings, PG&E has added self-service capabilities like reconnecting service via our Interactive Voice Response technology. And many of our communications are available in multiple languages and formats, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and large print. Customers can choose their preferred channel for communication—text, email or phone.

Integrating Feedback

To increase customer satisfaction, PG&E regularly seeks feedback and insights from customers through various surveys and other research that, in turn, help to drive our decision-making and our efforts to improve customer service. We also maintain an internal Hotline, which allows any employee to take action to make sure that PG&E addresses customers’ unresolved issues in a timely fashion.

Many of our communications are available in multiple languages and formats, including our monthly energy statement.

2013 Milestones

We remained focused on better understanding and responding to the unique needs of our different customers in 2013, with a number of highlights:

Home Energy Reports Stimulate Big Customer Savings

PG&E’s Home Energy Reports program gives residential customers an analysis of their energy use along with personalized tips on how they can save energy. The reports show customers how their energy use stacks up against approximately 100 similar households in their area. These comparisons can encourage customers to manage their energy better. In fact, the savings added up in 2013—electric savings totaled 81.3 GWh, enough to power about 12,800 typical homes for a year. Total estimated gas savings came to 2.8 million therms, nearly enough to serve 6,800 typical homes for a year.

  • Established 10 local cross-functional leadership teams. We met our goal of putting 10 local teams in place by the end of 2013. These teams are working to create an effective and recognizable local PG&E presence to strengthen relationships with our customers and other stakeholders, identify and solve issues more quickly, improve PG&E’s engagement in local communities and earn our customers' trust.
  • Improved the customer experience for digital-first customers. PG&E’s customer insights show that the majority of residential customers want to conduct business with us through digital or self-service channels, and that number continues to grow. We are working to expand the types of transactions that customers can manage digitally or via self-service.
  • Increased use of customized energy reports. About 1 million of PG&E’s 4.6 million residential customers now receive easy-to-read Home Energy Reports. We also began to make detailed energy use reports available to small businesses, similar to those provided to residential customers.

Measuring Progress

Through a renewed focus on improving the customer experience for our digital-first customers, and tailoring our engagement and offerings through local customer relationships, we are committed to improving customer satisfaction for both residential and business customers.

In 2013, we continued to improve in customer satisfaction, achieving a score of 75.4, our highest annual score since 2009, and above the target of 75.2. Each year, we benchmark our survey with customers of best-in-class performing utilities from J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Index. This helps us set our goal each year, as we aim to achieve top quartile performance in customer satisfaction. In 2014, our target is 75.7.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction
  2011 2012 2013
Customer Satisfaction Score 73.5 74.5 75.4

To measure customer satisfaction we use a random-sample, proprietary customer survey, conducted quarterly by an independent third party. The Customer Satisfaction Score is determined by averaging customers’ overall satisfaction with the products and services offered by PG&E using a 1 to 10 scale, indexed to a score from 1 to 100. This metric also serves as one of the measures we use for determining performance-related compensation, as employees from all PG&E lines of business contribute to improving the overall satisfaction of our customers.

Looking Ahead

By the end of 2014, we expect to have local cross-functional leadership teams in place throughout our service area, allowing us to strengthen local relationships and more quickly identify and resolve local customer concerns.

We also remain focused on testing and piloting new technologies on a small scale before deploying them more broadly. For example, customers are testing internet- and smartphone-enabled thermostats and Home Area Networks devices—made possible with SmartMeter™ technology—that provide energy management and usage information via in-home displays.

With the “Green Button,” customers can easily and securely download their personalized energy data. More than 40 percent of PG&E’s customers—2.6 million electric and gas customers—are registered on My Energy and have access to their energy data through the Green Button.

We also offer Green Button Connect, a trial project that allows customers to easily share their electric usage data with other authorized companies and service providers. These companies can then analyze customer data in unique ways to help customers save energy.