PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwired - Sep 19, 2013) - Northwest Natural Gas Company, dba NW Natural, (NYSE: NWN) has earned the highest overall score in the Western U.S. among large utilities according to the 2013 J.D. Power Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. NW Natural also posted the highest score in the nation, receiving 676 points in the large utility segment (utilities serving 400,000 or more residential customers). In 2008 and 2010, NW Natural posted the highest score in the nation among all utilities in the study.

The study, now in its 12th year, measures residential customer satisfaction with natural gas utilities across six factors: billing and payment; price; corporate citizenship; communications; customer service; and field service.

"We're honored by this recognition from our customers -- and it's a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees," said Gregg Kantor, NW Natural president and CEO. "We don't take these results for granted. A strong service ethic is engrained in our culture, and we don't intend to lose sight of that strength. Taking care of our customers and providing safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to the communities that depend on us will remain our focus."

The 2013 J.D. Power and Associates study results are based on more than 64,600 responses from residential customers of the 74 largest gas utilities across the U.S. The study was fielded between September 2012 and July 2013.

Kantor cited internal research that also suggests customers are having a positive response to company initiatives, including:

  • Communication about energy efficiency and safety. NW Natural deploys a comprehensive outreach effort to raise awareness of energy efficiency programs and safety messages -- targeting customers through advertising, bill inserts, events, and earned and social media. Nearly 20,000 customers are enrolled in the company's Smart Energy program -- a program that supports the development of biogas in the region. And hundreds of customers participated in NW Natural's sponsored Get Ready events, which aim to prepare communities for natural disasters.

  • Customer service. NW Natural customers positively rate their interactions with call center representatives and field service technicians, praising employees' responsiveness and knowledge. The company staffs a specialized, 24/7 emergency contact center, and now offers a four-hour service window. In addition, more customers are paying their bills through the company website or on their cell phones, taking advantage of easy-to-use mobile options and a new, no-fee credit card option.

  • Community involvement. NW Natural's corporate philanthropy program focuses on helping kids and families at risk in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The company donates more than $1 million each year from its shareholder fund. Additionally, employees volunteer at countless organizations and events, and the company's signature blue tents are loaned out at no cost to provide shelter from sun and rain at local gatherings of all sizes.

About NW Natural
NW Natural (NYSE: NWN) is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and provides natural gas service to about 689,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest. Additional information is available at www.nwnatural.com.

About J.D. Power
J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power has offices in North/South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power is a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial.

Contact Information:

Media Contact:
Melissa Moore