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Appalachian Power showcases one of its massive turbines at Smith Mountain Lake. [2016]

J.D. Power Nov. 18 named Appalachian Power as the last-place-ranking large utilities company in the eastern region.

Appalachian Power is the electric utilities provider serving portions of Danville and Pittsylvania County as well as Lynchburg City Henry County, Smith Mountain Lake and other neighboring localities. The company earned 754 points on the 1,000 point scale used by the 2020 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study, here in its 22nd consecutive year.

"While overall customer satisfaction remains high this year, it should be cause for concern that smaller businesses that have been more significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are, in many cases, less aware of relief efforts and not receiving the same level of outreach as bigger businesses," said Adrian Chung, director of utilities intelligence at J.D. Power. "Peel back the layers of the data and it’s clear that utilities need to fully leverage digital channels in an effective manner to engage with the broad population of small business customers."

Appalachian Power is classified as a large provider, meaning it serves more than 88,000 customers, for the purpose of this study. It is also placed in the eastern region, one of four designated geographical regions.

Despite the low ranking by our local provider, this year's satisfaction study found 29 percent more people received 'perfect power' than last year, overall. The average large business increased its score by eight points versus last year.

Overall customer satisfaction is also significantly higher among the 64 percent of businesses that are aware of COVID-19-related relief efforts, such as late payment forgiveness, waived charges and fees and community support initiatives, according to J.D. power.

Businesses also saw significant improvement in satisfaction scores this year when communicating digitally with customers.

Appalachian Power ranked low in the national scheme as well, coming up second-lowest among large providers among all four geographic designations combined.

BGE (Maryland), for the fourth year in a row, and Con Edison (New York) ranked highest this year in a tie at 817 points.

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