LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing Board of Water & Light’s (BWL) job performance rating remains strong and continues to improve among business and residential customers, whose support for moving to more renewable energy sources in the future is also growing, two new EPIC-MRA surveys found.
A strong majority – 89% of business customers and 83% of residential customers – gave the BWL positive ratings for delivering reliable and affordable electric power to businesses and homes. Strong majorities of residential (70%) and business (69%) customers also rated BWL’s rates as reasonable.
In addition, support for adding more renewable power to the BWL’s portfolio increased significantly among residential customers, who “clearly embrace the BWL’s current plan to eliminate coal by 2025 and boost renewable energy to at least 40% by 2030,” said EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn.
“The BWL enjoys strong and growing support for its job performance from residential and business customers,” Porn said. “Among residential customers especially, there is notable growth in support for the BWL’s move to deliver more power in the future through wind and solar energy sources. BWL customers clearly embrace a future with more renewable power, and they want the BWL to get there without jeopardizing the ability to deliver reliable power at affordable rates.”
The survey of 400 residential customers was conducted Nov. 20-23, and the survey of 300 business customers was completed Nov. 11-18. The error margin was 4.9% for the residential survey and 5.7% for the business survey.
Porn noted that the BWL’s job performance rating increased 2% among residential customers (from 81% to 83%) and business customers (from 87% to 89%) since the 2015 EPIC-MRA surveys.
“The men and women at the BWL work tirelessly and take seriously their mission to deliver reliable, affordable and cleaner energy to the Mid-Michigan communities we serve,” said BWL General Manager Dick Peffley. “We are very grateful to our customers and the honest evaluation they give us for delivering power to their hometowns. We recognize there are always ways to improve and do even better, which we will strive to do.
Some other key findings of the EPIC-MRA surveys include:
- 70% of residential customers (up 7 points from 2015) and 69% of business customers (up 8 points from 2015) said electric rates are reasonable.
- Among the small number of customers offering a negative job rating to the BWL, the top reason for doing so was “cost/too expensive” among residential customers (cited by 40%), and “cost/price increases” among business customers (cited by 65%).
- Residential and business customers were read eight planning goals and asked to say which should be a “top priority,” “important, but not a top priority,” “only somewhat important,” or “not important at all.”
- For residential customers, the most important were affordability (93%); reliability (91%); providing electrical power while minimizing the environmental impact that contributes to climate change (84%); generating electric power from renewable energy, such as wind and solar, located in the greater Lansing area (78%); and having diverse energy generation options, including natural gas, wind, solar, hydro-electric, power storage, and energy efficiency programs (76%).
- Business customers offered somewhat different responses, with reliability cited as most important (93%); followed by affordability (92%); providing enough electric energy at an affordable price to attract economic development projects and businesses to locate in Lansing (84%); providing electric power while minimizing the environmental impact that contributes to climate change (78%); having diverse energy generation options, including natural gas, wind, solar, hydro-electric, power storage and energy efficiency programs (74%); and having the ability to generate electric power from renewable energy, such as wind and solar, that is located in the greater Lansing area (68%).
- Another notable change from 2015 in the 2019 residential survey is the significant increase in support for renewable energy. A 78% majority of residential customers (up 12 points from 2015) said it was important (45% a top priority, up 14 points), to have “the ability to generate electric power from renewable energy, such as wind or solar, that is located in the greater Lansing area.”
“Clearly our customers increasingly recognize the need to move as swiftly as possible to adopt cleaner energy sources,” Peffley said. “We stand with them, and we are taking significant operational steps to make the transition. As we move to become Michigan’s cleanest electric utility, it is our responsibility to do so in ways that also assure our ability to deliver power sources that our residential and business customers can rely on at rates that are as reasonable and affordable as possible.”