Its Time For The City to Update The Utility Bill Format
Original post made by Bob Wenzlau on Jan 8, 2008
Some observations I have made include:
- The utility usage history is buried on a second page, and does a very poor job showing usage. It makes it very hard to consider any conservation.
- Current usage is the second line from the bottom of a chart on the second page -- huh? Why is this so hard to find?
- The front page is a mismash of units. It is a nice chance to figure out how to convert CCF (100 cubic feet) to Gallons Per Day, but why can't the bill do that.
- The charts and tables are poorly laid out. A user can inadvertently misread units.
- The bill misses enormous opportunities to "smartly" present conservation ideas. This is a stretch, but the city does no what the size of our lot is, and the city does know what the temperature history is. The bill could articulate water usage per square foot of lot, or water usage versus the temperature history. The bill could hypothesize savings based on relamping.
I would welcome the City surprising us. Can they do a utility bill redesign more successfully than the website redesign. Can they control the cost of redesign? Can they set the standard for other utilities with how to smartly use the utility bill information -- for us this bill is the strongest motivator for conservation.
Do other folks agree?
on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:31 am
I tend to agree with you, Bob, about the format of the utility bill.
What I also find annoying is that this bill is the only one that I cannot pay online. I pay my credit cards, phone bills, cable bills online, but the bill from the utility company in the birthplace of the Silicon Valley does not have online payment yet.
on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:44 am
Given the City's last experience implementing Internet-related work (the website), would you really trust them to produce a safe, easy-to-use payment system? Any credit card numbers given to the City would seem to have a high chance of ending up in the possession of some 15 year old Russian hacker.
on Jan 8, 2008 at 10:20 am
Its a waste of paper. Yes, they do double sided printing - but even so, the bill can be made more comprehensive.