Energy recharges Web site
- By Judi Hasson
- Sep 28, 2000
The Energy Department will unveil a portal next week that that's designed
to be as useful to consumers as it is to scientists.
Gone will the department's old-style Web site at www.doe.gov,
with canned news releases, statements from Energy Secretary Bill Richardson
and a bureaucratic tone that gave little helpful information.
In its place will be a state-of-the-art Web site that's meant to make
information easier to find for consumers at www.energy.gov.
It will contain many levels of information including fuel prices, energy-saving
tips, national security issues and computer science drawing together the
resources of the multilayered department.
Energy.gov has been running in parallel to the old site since June.
The design of the new portal is the handiwork of a small company, Supon
Design Group of Washington, D.C. Its biggest challenge was designing a site
that could be equally as useful to scientists as it is to ordinary consumers.
DOE's Office of Consumer Information used existing resources and paid about
$200,000 to the design firm.
"We had a tricky issue on the table the site had to be accessible
to everybody. That included the everyday Joe to the more educated individual,
like a scientist or researcher, a friendly, nonintimidating and less formal
approach," a DOE official said.
The site also will provide an e-mail service that gives customers regular
updates on a wide variety of information, including the diesel fuel prices.
Once a week, truckers will be able to get an update on the price they pay
to fill up their tanks, which allows them to pass on the increasing cost
of fuel to their customers.
Although this service has been available since 1994, when the Energy
Information Administration went online, EIA spokesman Jonathan Cogan said
the site is now getting thousands of hits from truckers because of the rising
price of oil.