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Simple is good: Redesigning utility bills to reduce complexity and increase understanding

Johanna Brühl, Grant Smith and Martine Visser ()

Utilities Policy, 2019, vol. 60, issue C, -

Abstract: This study examines whether the presentation of billing information in a cognitively simple manner increases consumer understanding and satisfaction. 1325 participants were randomly assigned to different treatment groups and received one of nine redesigned utility bills or a standard bill. Comprehension and satisfaction were tested through a questionnaire. Restructuring the bill in a logical order, and displaying electricity consumption with separate bar graphs, had a positive effect on understanding. Methods commonly used by utility providers, such as adding conversational prompts to guide consumers through the bill, or using graphical math to explain tariff calculations, had no discernible effect on understanding.

Keywords: Electricity bill; Consumer understanding; Electricity consumption (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 D12 Q41 Q48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2019.100934

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