As a media spokesperson and vice-president of Corporate Communications for CenterPoint Energy, I’ve known for a long time that unless there’s a natural gas leak or widespread power outages, much of what our businesses do is “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” for most consumers. But last week, I read a consumer survey report from the Guild Group out of Austin that really brought this point home. Even though it’s been nearly 10 years since electric competition came to Texas, and even though millions of electric customers across the state have selected an electric provider and plan , there are still a lot of folks who don’t really understand how the market works or what my family of companies does.

Consider this:

* Only one-third of Texans surveyed correctly answered this question: “Does the company you buy electricity from, also own, maintain and repair the wires that deliver electricity to your home?” (The correct answer, by the way, is no. In most of Texas, utilities no longer generate or sell electricity.)
* Of those surveyed who are in CenterPoint Energy’s Houston electric service territory, only 27 percent could name our company off the top of their head as the utility responsible for owning and maintaining the wires that bring the electricity into their homes. Half of those surveyed named someone else.
* If there’s one bright spot, however, it’s this: you beat Dallas. When told the name of their electric transmission and distribution utility and asked how familiar they are them, 64 percent of Houston-area residents said they were very familiar with CenterPoint Energy’s Houston electric utility compared to only 50 percent who said they were familiar with Oncor in Dallas. It’s hard to get too excited, though. Even when survey respondents were given our name, about a fourth of area-residents said they were either ”not very” or “not at all familiar” with it.

Continue reading at the Fuel Fix blog.