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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Make it Easy

Two weeks ago, Alectra (my electricity provider) sent me an email with the subject line, "Go paperless to support local food banks".

The email read as follows:

Dear Valued Customer,

Alectra Inc. has donated 16,800 N95 masks to local hospitals, as well as $230,000 to food banks in our communities. With your help, we can do more to support those most in need during these difficult times.

That’s why we’re asking you to switch to paperless ebilling today. Alectra will donate the savings from every customer who switches to ebilling between May 1 and July 15, 2020 to food banks in our communities – with a goal of donating up to $100,000.

In most cases, going paperless makes a lot of sense. You eliminate clutter on your desk, you do something positive for the environment, and you help save the company some printing costs that they're willing to donate towards a good cause. Win-win-win, right?

Except when it comes to my bills, I need that clutter on my desk.

I'm a neat-freak, and the clutter reminds me I have to do something with that bill: pay it. If it's on my desk -- or alternatively, flagged in my inbox -- I'll almost certainly pay it before the due date. If it's not, I'm likely to be hit with a late-payment penalty. It's an unusual system, perhaps, but it works for me.

Still, I wanted to at least consider the viability of the paperless option. So I replied to Alectra's email with a question:

Hi there.

Quick question: if I switch to paperless, will you email me a PDF of my bill every month, or do I have to go to your website and download it?