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Pepco 'most hated' company in America

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Local,Capital Land,Maryland,Rachel Baye

Pepco Holdings is the "most hated" company in America, according to Business Insider. The ranking is based partly on a finding by the American Customer Satisfaction Index that ranked Pepco at the bottom of the 25 largest investor-owned utilities nationally.

The electric company received a customer satisfaction score of 54 on a scale of 1-100, with a higher score signifying better customer satisfaction. It is the lowest Pepco has scored in the nine years it has been ranked and a 16-point — 22.9-percent — drop from last year. The score is also 20 points below the average.

Since 2006, Pepco has scored consistently below average.

By comparison, Dominion Resources received a 77 for 2011, which was a 2.7-percent increase over its previous score.

The score is based on three factors: overall satisfaction, performance compared with customers' expectations and performance compared with customers' ideals, said David VanAmburg, managing director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Survey takers interviewed 250 Pepco customers between January and March.

A company's performance tends to come down to rates and reliability, he said. But of the two, reliability is the more important factor.

"We saw anecdotally a lot of the problems that Pepco was witnessing," he said. "That's not too surprising that you would see a score like this."

While Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey did not refute the American Customer Satisfaction Index, he said Business Insider's claims were made "with the possible intent to drive readership."

"We at Pepco know we have work to do," he wrote in a statement. "For us to be distracted by this kind of sensationalism would be counterproductive."

Pepco's reliability is under investigation by Maryland's Public Service Commission.

Last week, D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh introduced a bill aimed at improving Pepco's reliability. The bill would penalize the electric utility if it isn't in the top half of utilities by 2016 and the top quarter by 2020.

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