PG&E looks to reform public image

The new chief executive officer at Pacific Gas & Electric has made improving customer service and the company's public image a personal mission, according to the Contra Costa Times.

PG&E faced harsh criticism in the aftermath of the recent gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed several homes, but the company had already developed a poor reputation among many of its customers because of reportedly poor service and high prices.

New chief executive Tony Earley suggested that the first step was humility, accepting that the company had failed in its core mission and refocusing on issues directly related to that business. An early example of this came with the closure of a strategy group focused on opportunities outside of energy, but other key safety and reliability improvements are also being implemented, though at a small cost to ratepayers.

"PG&E obviously has a long way to go to restore trust," Mindy Spatt, communications director with The Utility Reform Network, told the news source. "PG&E has become synonymous with a lot of things that customers don't like -- exploding pipelines, burning houses, smart meters that are unpopular, rate hikes. From the customer's perspective, things couldn't be much worse."

The San Francisco Examiner reports that the company also intends to place a greater emphasis on knowledge in natural gas, which was lacking with the company's earlier emphasis on electricity.

The PennEnergy Research area can provide further information on companies such as Pacific Gas & Electric.

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