ComEd Using Crowdsourcing to Redesign its Bills

As part of an effort to enhance the customer experience, ComEd is planning to redesign its bill to make it easier for customers to understand and better manage their energy use. ComEd will use a technique called "crowdsourcing," which uses social media and other digital channels to ask customers to identify the features they need and want in their electric bills.

"Our customers have told us that our current bill is difficult to read and understand," said Val Jensen, senior vice president of Customer Operations, ComEd. "We've heard our customers loud and clear, and now we are asking them for their help in designing a bill that will better meet their needs."

Customers can provide feedback on the bill's design through various online forums, including a brand-new "bill builder." This interactive tool allows customers to arrange and customize features of the bill to visually illustrate where they would like each of the bill's components to be placed on the bill and the level of detail that should be provided. For example, customers can indicate if they would like to see information comparing their energy usage to their neighbors. They can also specify how they would like to see this information presented in terms of charts and graphs.

In addition, ComEd launched a "heat map" survey through its Facebook page for customers to provide feedback. With the click of a mouse, customers can pinpoint the sections of the current bill they find most helpful. The clicks from all participants will be combined to illuminate the most popular areas of the bill so that those can be made more prominent. ComEd will also use its social media sites to periodically launch online polls to gather additional feedback.

ComEd's initial social media poll indicated 47 percent of those polled view the "billing summary" as the most useful part of the bill; followed by the "total charge breakdown," 19 percent; and "usage profile," 19 percent. Twenty-six percent of those polled feel the "payment stub" is the least useful.

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