Monday, September 01, 2008

killing of the green

The latest bill from a utility company looks different, it's more compact. One of the notes offers more information:

We are pleased to introduce our new and improved monthly billing statement featuring an updated design, new colours, easy-to-read layout and improved arrangement of resident account information.

Sure. Whatever. A drop in rates or a concession would have been more welcome, since the old format wasn't as confusing or intimidating as a BellSouth phone bill. Going green with e-billing is, however, a good way to cut down on the paper trails and stacks in your house (or wherever it is that you store your statements and bills). An electronic version is easier to store, back up and carry around.

However, the final note mentions a new e-bill service. This means I can "go green" and "go paperless" (except in the hall of judgement, if you're living in the US of A).

There's been a strange surge of campaigns for going green. The commercial real estate company owning your office building was probably handing out energy-saving 30 watt bulbs. There are probably handouts sitting a tray (let's ignore the trees killed to create those handouts) championing green computers and pro-green HVAC settings. In a city like Atlanta, you'll also get the "drive less go green" camp, whose arguments are weaker than those of the "drive less save money on gas[oline]" camp. All this is fine and dandy, but I'm waiting for the tax subsidies. There's nothing like a tax cut to get more people involved -- expecting people to go green merely for warm and fuzzy reasons like "saving the environment" or "making it a better place for you and for me" isn't practical.

On the other hand, you will always have utility companies like Georgia Natural Gas that still do not give you a chance to stop the paper bill. You can sign up for OCC (Online Customer Care), you can now even make payments through their online portal without a fee (instead of using your bank's e-Bill Pay service), but you cannot stop them from sending you a paper copy of that PDF you just downloaded. In the eloquent words on the "Electronic Bill Notification" page, You will continue to receive a paper bill. No chance of seeing the Green Green Gas of Home (sorry for that bad paperless pun).

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