JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A survey of utility customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates showed the JEA ranking very low, 29th out of 30 midsize utilities in the South.
JEA received a score of 586 out of a possible 1,000 among midsized companies in the southern region. The only company ranked lower that JEA with a score of 569 was Entergy New Orleans.
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JEA customer Chelsea Love, who was at the JEA's downtown customer service center today, that the low ranking did not a surprise her at all. " I think that is about right. " said Love. " I think it's ridiculous what JEA is charging us. I pay $2 to come down here and pay my own bill. Who charges you to pay their own money? It doesn't make sense. "
JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce defended the utility, saying it works hard for its customers. She blames the poor economy in the area for the dissatisfaction in the survey. "JEA provides an essential service that people have to have," said Boyce.
"Our utility has the most lenient disconnect polices of any utility in our surrounding area, we try to work with our customers. We also have payment arrangements, pay installments with our customers. We work hard to meet their needs."
Boyce said there has been a recent decrease in the number of disconnects for non-payment because of the numerous options JEA offers for payment of customer bills.
She also points out that the company's rates fall roughly in the middle of all utilities in Florida.
The JEA also has independent surveys done of it's customers to constantly get their feedback. "We listen to the research, it allows us to improve service," said Boyce.
The top ranked company was Jackson EMC in Georgia with a score of 711.
The annual J.D. Power and Associates' survey is based on responses from more than 98,000 online interviews from July 2010 through May 2011.
It measures satisfaction via power quality and reliability, price, billing and payment, corporate citizenship, communications, and customer service, according to the study.
MORE: Read the full report.
First Coast News, NBC