The concept of “electron deformation orbitals” (EDOs) is used to investigate the electric response of conducting metals and oligophenyl chains. These orbitals and their eigenvalues are obtained by diagonalization of the deformation density matrix (difference between the density matrices of the perturbed and unperturbed systems) and can be constructed as linear combinations of the unperturbed molecular orbitals within “frozen geometry” conditions. This form of the EDOs allows calculating the part of the electron deformation density associated to an effective electron transfer from occupied to virtual orbitals (valence to conduction band electron transfer in the band model of conductivity). It is found that the “electron deformation” orbitals pair off, displaying the same eigenvalue but opposite sign. Each pair represents an amount of accumulation/depletion of electron charge at different molecular regions. In the oligophenyl systems investigated only one pair contributes effectively to the charge flow between molecular ends, resulting from the promotion of electrons from occupied orbitals to close in energy virtual orbitals of appropriate symmetry and overlapping. Analysis of this pair along explains the differences in conductance of olygophenyl chains based on phenyl units. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.