Plain Language: A Commitment to Writing You Can Understand

Department of Energy

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Contact Info
Michael Coogan
E-mail: 
PlainWriting@hq.doe.gov
Phone: 
(202) 586-5089

 

To the Department of Energy, writing in Plain Language:

  • Shows customer focus
  • Communicates effectively
  • Increases understanding
  • Creates a positive image for the Department
  • Reduces confusion and time spent explaining

We strive to produce documents that are clear, concise, and well-organized.  We use Plain Language in documents that help the public

  • Obtain a federal government benefit or service
  • Understand how to comply with a federal requirement

This is why the Department embraces The Plain Writing Act of 2010, which requires federal agencies to write “clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.” Our efforts to write clearly and distinctly are detailed in our annual Plain Language Compliance Reports.

We also stress to our employees that writing clearly helps them communicate better with their colleagues in the office, in the department, and throughout the federal government.

We encourage our writers to write from the readers’ perspective, avoid jargon, minimize abbreviations, and use verbs instead of nouns (for example, comply vs. compliance). This way, our documents help readers easily find and use the information they need.

The Department sponsors several Plain Language Training classes during the year for our employees and contractors.

We have assigned staff to oversee our Plain Language efforts:

  • Ingrid Kolb, Director of the Office of Management, Senior Agency Official Responsible for Plain Writing (202-586-2550)
  • Michael Coogan, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Plain Language Point-of-Contact (PlainWriting@hq.doe.gov or 202-586-5230).

The Department of Energy’s web site represents the Department’s commitment to principles of open government and Plain Language. You can help us to meet our Plain Language goals by letting us know when we fall short. Please contact Mike at PlainWriting@hq.doe.gov if you have trouble understanding any of our documents or any material on our Web site.