ComEd, the largest electric utility in Illinois, has redesigned its bills to make them easier for consumers to understand. Yeah, I know, a non-confusing utility bill! Let’s take a look.
Here’s the old energy bill:
And here’s the new bill:
What makes this good communication?
1. The new design focuses on what consumers care about.
Namely: what’s my damage this month?
On the new bill, your eyes immediately go to the single most important piece of information: what you owe the folks at ComEd. On the old bill, that information blends in with a bunch of utilityese about delivery charges and transmission services.
2. The new bill switches utilityese for Plain English.
Yeah! Not only are we not hiding the good stuff in the middle of utilityese, we’re saying sayonara to most of that gobbledygook entirely.
Look at the current charges section on the new bill. There are three simple, clearly defined sections: supply, delivery, and taxes & fees. You pay for the energy, you pay for it to get to your house, and you’re taxed on it. That’s it.
Compare that to the old bill, which has those same three sections…but they’re broken out into long, long lists of jargon that most people don’t understand. Or let’s be honest, really care about.
Or maybe you have a fascination with utility franchise costs. That’s cool, no judgement.
3. The new bill makes it easier to see how much energy you’re using.
Which makes it easier to conserve energy, which is a win-win for you and ComEd. On the old graph, you can kinda…sorta…see how much energy you’re using. But the information is stored on a bitsy graph, and you have to really work to compare it to the same month last year, and at this point you’re cranking the A/C to combat the math sweats and now we’re losing energy, people!
The new bill takes all the energy use highlights and puts them together in a box, where they’re easy to scan and understand.
And just the placement of the energy stats makes them feel more important. The energy usage info is the second thing your eyes are drawn to on the page, right after how much money you owe. That makes you pay attention-and just might be enough to get you to think a little harder about how much energy you’re using each month.
I mean, is this new energy bill your next beach read? No. But it is easier for the average consumer to understand, and it could even help people cut back on their energy consumption. And for that we say, props on the Damn Good Communication, ComEd.