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Electric Service Quality

The Public Utility Commission approves service quality and reliability plans for all of Vermont’s electric utilities. Each utility’s Service Quality and Reliability Plan sets out standards by which that utility’s performance will be measured. The Plans also require each utility to monitor and report the results of its performance in these areas to the Public Utility Commission and the Department of Public Service.

The standards included in electric utility Service Quality and Reliability Plans cover seven broad areas of service that have a substantial impact on consumers:  customer service phone answering, billing, meter reading, work completion, customer satisfaction, worker safety, and reliability of service. While many of the electric utility Service Quality and Reliability Plans are quite similar, the 17 Plans are not identical. They include different standards and different minimum performance levels for those standards, depending on a particular utility’s circumstances.

Each Service Quality and Reliability Plan also includes at least one “service guarantee” – a specific credit or financial benefit to the affected individual retail customers if the utility fails to meet one of its service commitments. All of the Service Quality and Reliability Plans include a service quality compensation mechanism under which the utilities will pay a financial penalty if certain minimum standards are not met.

The Commission has found that all the electric utility Service Quality and Reliability Plans provide significant benefits to ratepayers. These benefits include:

  • more comprehensive service monitoring
  • supplying public information on the level of service a company is providing
  • the establishment of a database from which to set future, more stringent targets
  • the waiver of fees for missed service appointments
  • financial penalties for poor utility performance

Electric Service Quality Plans