Pipeline Services Survey Results 2018

Pipeline Services Survey Results 2018 [PDF 143 KB]

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Surveys Issued and Response Rate
  3. 3. Survey Results and Comparison to 2016 Survey
  4. 4. Conclusions

1. Introduction

The National Energy Board (Board) strives to support efficient markets, where the services that shippers receive from pipeline companies meet shippers’ needs.

In 2018, the Board conducted a Pipeline Services Survey (Survey). The Survey was last conducted in 2016. The Survey is a means to obtain direct feedback from the shippers of NEB-regulated pipeline companies on the quality of service provide Board’s processes with respect to tolls and tariffs. The Board also considers the survey results as an input when deciding which pipeline companies to audit as pd by those pipelines and on theart of its financial regulatory audit program and in focusing the audit objectives and scope. The Board’s objective is to facilitate continuous improvement in pipeline services and the 2018 Survey is in keeping with this objective.

The Survey results now feed into one of the measures in the Board’s Departmental Results Framework (DRF). The DRF indicator measures the percentage of shippers that rate the Overall Quality of Service of pipeline services offering and delivery at three or higher on a five-point scale.

Every three years, the full survey of approximately 20 questions will be performed. In the intervening years, a short survey of five questions will be conducted. The Overall Quality of Service question required for the DRF will be included in both the long and short surveys. The short survey was conducted for the current year.

This Report is a summary of the results in aggregate for all the companies surveyed. In addition, the Board will provide each pipeline company and its shippers with detailed company‑specific results including the verbatim anonymous comments received from shippers.

2. Surveys Issued and Response Rate

In total, 827 surveys were issued. Shippers who utilize multiple pipeline systems received a separate survey for each pipeline. The overall response rate was approximately twenty per cent (20%), down slightly from the 2016 rate of twenty-two per cent (22%).

Survey Responses

Survey Responses
Company 2016 Surveys Issued 2018 Surveys Issued 2016 Response Rate 2018 Response Rate
Alliance 35 40 34.3% 32.5%
AltaGas 11 4 45.5% 25.0%
Enbridge Bakken 15 18 6.7% 5.6%
Enbridge Mainline 107 47 15.0% 25.5%
Enbridge Southern Lights 9 6 22.2% 33.3%
Express 16 59 50.0% 16.7%
Foothills 63 56 22.2% 10.7%
Kinder Morgan Cochin 10 4 10.0% 50.0%
Maritimes & Northeast 15 15 46.7% 60.0%
NOVA Gas Transmission 206 236 26.2% 19.5%
Plains Midstream 15 14 40.0% 28.6%
Trans Mountain 10 14 70.0% 50.0%
TransCanada Keystone 23 23 39.1% 21.7%
TransCanada Mainline 310 136 11.6% 13.2%
Vector 44 33 18.2% 15.2%
Westcoast Field Services 15 38 33.3% 21.1%
Westcoast Transmission 59 57 32.2% 26.3%
Westspur 43 27 23.3% 3.7%
Total 1006 827 21.9% 20.0%

3. Survey Results and Comparison to 2016 Survey

This section summarizes the aggregate results and comments for all of the pipelines for each question in the Survey.

On questions one and two, in addition to providing comments, respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction with the services they receive on a scale of 1 to 5, where:

  • 1 indicates “Very dissatisfied”,
  • 2 indicates “Dissatisfied”,
  • 3 indicates “Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied”,
  • 4 indicates “Satisfied”, and
  • 5 indicates “Very satisfied”.

Questions three through five only requested comments.

Questions and Responses

1. How satisfied are you with the physical reliability of the pipeline company’s operations?

Satisfaction with the physical reliability of pipeline operations decreased from the 2016 Survey from 3.74 to 3.45. Fifty-seven per cent (57%) of shippers gave pipelines a rating of Satisfied (4) or Very satisfied (5), compared to seventy-four per cent (74%) in 2016. Many shippers expressed concern with an increase in service restrictions resulting from system maintenance. Some shippers also noted that increased system transparency is needed, particularly on system maintenance matters.

 

Physical Reliability of Operations – Survey Average 3.45
Physical Reliability of Operations – Survey Average 3.45
1 2 3 4 5 Average
15 19 36 60 31 3.45

2. How satisfied are you with the OVERALL quality of service provided by the pipeline company over the last calendar year?

The satisfaction rating for overall quality of service was 3.42 this year, which is just below the 3.48 rating from the 2016 Survey. Generally, shippers were satisfied with the overall quality of service. Fifty-four per cent (54%) of shippers gave pipelines a rating of Satisfied (4) or Very satisfied (5). The concerns raised by shippers include:

  • Communication,
  • Shipper consultation,
  • Transparency, and
  • Reliability.

Overall Quality of Service – Survey Average 3.42

Overall Quality of Service – Survey Average 3.42
1 2 3 4 5 Average
10 26 39 60 27 3.42

 

3. What are the things that this pipeline company does well?

This question provided shippers with an opportunity to list the things that their particular pipeline company is doing well. Similar to the 2016 Survey, some commonly mentioned areas by shippers include:

  • Friendly, responsive, and helpful staff;
  • Good communication;
  • Willing to resolve shipper’s issues;
  • Operational Flexibility; and
  • Reliability

4. What three areas would need to improve the most for this pipeline company to receive a higher overall customer satisfaction rating from your company?

The most common themes for areas requiring improvement indicated by shippers across all pipelines were:

  • Communication with shippers, especially with respect to interruptions of service and apportionment;
  • Internal coordination and communication between different units within the pipeline company;
  • Transparency of systems and information made available to shippers;
  • Nominations systems and procedures;
  • Customer service; and
  • Ease of use of online systems.

5. What could the Board do to improve its processes through which tolls and tariffs are determined?

A variety of subjects were mentioned by shippers regarding how the Board could improve its handling of toll and tariff matters. Common themes included:

  • Faster processes and decisions from the Board;
  • Increased scrutiny of the fairness of tolls and tariffs and the associated return earned by the pipeline companies;
  • Greater transparency from both the pipeline companies and the Board regarding how tolls are determined; 
  • Holding companies more accountable for reliability issues;
  • Ensuring fair treatment of all companies when apportionment must take place; and
  • Removal of barriers for smaller shippers to voice their concerns and be heard in Board proceedings.

4. Conclusions

Feedback on Pipeline Services

In aggregate, it appears that shipper satisfaction has decreased since the previous Survey in 2016, although a direct comparison is difficult to make given that the short version of the survey was issued this year. In the comments provided by shippers, much of this downturn in satisfaction appears to be largely tied to reliability issues and apportionment.

Feedback on the Board

The NEB is grateful for this feedback, and it is captured and considered as part of its continuous improvement process. The NEB recognizes and appreciates the time shippers have invested in responding to the survey.

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