Socal Ed Scopes Independent Customer Survey

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Southern California Edison has initiated an internal audit to determine to what degree an independent customer satisfaction survey was influenced by employees.

John Bryson, chairman of SCE s parent Edison International, has informed Michael Peevey, chairman of the California Public Utilities Commission, that the event represented a serious lapse by about a dozen employees who apparently had a polling company call people who would provide complimentary responses. The matter is particularly sensitive since the CPUC considers customer satisfaction surveys as one component in determining whether a utility is penalized or rewarded in rate-making based on performance. Customer satisfaction incentives of nearly $10 million for 2001-2002 are currently pending before the CPUC, The Miami Herald reported. SCE vowed to return any incentives that have been inappropriately earned.

Meanwhile, Douglas Heller, executive director of watchdog group the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, told The Los Angeles Times, “Is Southern California Edison‘s service so bad that employees are cooking the books in order to make things look better than they really are. This is an eye-opener.”

So what’s the best way to look at an unfortunate situation? Satisfaction begins at home, as the headline in The Toronto Sun asked, or How to Look Good: Survey Yourself, as The Los Angeles Times suggested?

Consumer Watchdog
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