Study: Utility Companies Have Dirty Data

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A study released last week estimates that upward of 20 million utility accounts nationwide contain inaccurate phone numbers and billing addresses.


The study, Ensuring Accurate Customer Data in the Utility Industry, is from Chartwell Inc., Atlanta, which offers research reports, newsletters and other services for utility and energy company executives.


The report said the problem of incorrect data results from transient customers who abandon their billing address or frequently change phone numbers. Studies show that 70 percent to 80 percent of consumers contact their electric utility before the phone company when moving to a new address; therefore, no valid telephone number is available.


The study also said the millions invested by utilities in automated customer service technologies are compromised if the utility's customer contact data is inaccurate.


The study is part of the Chartwell CIS and Customer Service Research Series, an ongoing information service.


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