Consumer-members across the country are increasingly satisfied with the performance of their electric cooperatives and more than ever before see them as trusted information sources and partners in keeping energy costs low.
These are among the key findings of a recent national survey commissioned by NRECA and conducted by Frederick Polls.
The survey found 5-point jumps over 2018 numbers in respondents who say their electric co-op keeps them informed about its actions (84%) and is a trusted source for information about energy use and devices, including solar (83%). It also recorded a 10-point boost over 2018 in consumer-members who say their co-op is a partner in understanding energy technologies and controlling electricity costs (83%).
“We hear a lot of stories about how Americans are losing faith in institutions like big companies and government, but that’s clearly not the case with electric cooperatives,” says NRECA Communications Senior Vice President Scott Peterson. “The positive view that members have of co-ops is a testament to their reputation as honest brokers and entities who truly care about their communities.”
The telephone survey, which has been conducted annually for the past six years, polled 750 co-op consumer-members in mid-July. It has a margin of error of 3.6%.
Other data shows co-ops holding steady with prior surveys on overall job performance (93% positive), providing reliable service (95% positive), and quickly restoring service after outages (92% positive).
Most respondents (56%) say their household electric bills are “about right” or “a bit low” versus 41% who say their bills are “too high.” Fifty-seven percent say they would be loyal to their co-op even if allowed to choose a provider whose “price is slightly lower.” Even more (69%) would be loyal to the co-op over a competitor with no price difference.
Questions about political engagement show a majority of members feel their co-op should encourage people to vote (75%), should send updates about government actions impacting co-ops (69%), and should ask members to contact elected officials on co-op issues (59%). Nearly all (96%) indicated they will vote in the 2020 elections.
And despite reports of economic troubles in rural America, 75% of those who described themselves as “rural” say their local economy is strong.
“There is lots of good news here for electric co-ops,” says Keith Frederick, owner of Frederick Polls. “They are trusted community pillars and appreciated for delivering quality services.”