Episode 164: How should your electricity bill show your consumption?

electric lines

Casey Canfield, a recent PhD graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Engineering and Public Policy Department, explains what the best way is to communicate electricity consumption on your bill.

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Learn More

Perceptions of electricity-use communications: effects of information, format, and individual differences from the Journal of Risk Research

How is electricity used in U.S. homes? from U.S. Energy Information Administration

Transcript

How should your electricity bill show your electricity consumption?

HOST: How should your bill show your electricity consumption?  On this week’s Energy Bite, Casey Canfield, a recent PhD graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

CASEY: When you look at an electricity bill, you probably want to know how much the bill is, but also how much electricity you consumed and how you could reduce your bill next month.  How that information is communicated may influence the decisions you make.

HOST: So what’s the best way to communicate electricity consumption?

CASEY: We recently performed a study, which suggested that tables are better than graphs in this context. For reading specific values, such as how much electricity I used this month, a table is better than a graph. Graphs are more useful for understanding trends, but not everyone can interpret them. This means that if an electricity bill uses a graph, not everyone is able to understand what it means.

HOST: Do you think about your energy consumption when you look at your electric bill? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

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