RUTLAND - Central Vermont Public Service met all of its service quality standards for 2008, the fourth straight year the company achieved that goal.
"Given the tremendous challenges Mother Nature dealt, I am proud of how our employees performed," President Bob Young said. "Not only did we meet all the customer service goals, but we met the reliability goals despite trying weather patterns."
CVPS, Vermont's largest utility with about 158,000 customers, has 17 service quality measures known as SERVE standards. SERVE stands for Serving Everyone with Reliability, Value and Excellence.
The company measures and reports to state regulators on everything from how quickly customer care representatives answer phones to bill accuracy, customer service, outage numbers and duration, and safety. All Vermont utilities have specific service quality standards and must report the results regularly to state officials. Penalties can be imposed for failure to meet the standards.
In the customer information center, employees answered 83.8 percent of calls within 20 seconds last year, beating the standard of 75 percent. That was despite some significant storms, including December's ice storm, the costliest storm in company history, which knocked out service to 31 percent of CVPS's customers.
Other key measures from 2008: 91 percent of customers said they were satisfied following customer-initiated contact. The complaint rate for 2008 was just 0.01576 percent, well below the standard of 0.07 percent. Just 0.079 percent of bills were inaccurate.
Despite a rural service territory, the average customer lost service just 2.4 times, for an average duration of 2.8 hours, excluding major storms. The SERVE standards for reliability are an average of 2.5 outages lasting an average of 3.5 hours each, excluding major storms.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates survey of electric utility customers, CVPS ranks second in the east and got more than 50 points above the national average for overall customer satisfaction.