National Grid launches public affairs pitch

National Grid has launched a pitch process for its public affairs work, as the energy industry faces fresh legislative hurdles in the form of the Energy Bill.

Legislative hurdles: National Grid is delivering the Energy Bill (National Grid)
Legislative hurdles: National Grid is delivering the Energy Bill (National Grid)

The review follows six years with Bell Pottinger Public Affairs (BPPA), which was appointed in 2006.

BPPA MD Stephen Lotinga said the brief was 'at a very early stage'.

He confirmed that Bell Pottinger expected to repitch for the account, which is reviewed every three years.

The brief is understood to include public affairs support in the UK and European Union, and will cover the main policy areas of energy, climate change and skills.

The review came as it was revealed that National Grid had been chosen as the delivery body for the newly released Energy Bill, which aims to set pricing structures so that £110bn is released to low-carbon generators.

The news comes as Lord Bell continues to push through plans for a management buyout of several companies within the Bell Pottinger Group, following the departure of BPPA chairman Peter Bingle.

Meanwhile, RenewableUK, the renewable energy association, has brought in Edelman to help inform the political decision-making process around the Energy Bill.

The arrangement follows a pitch process and will last throughout 2012.

RenewableUK's head of public affairs, James MacColl, said: 'We are just making sure that we keep track of the bill and the scope of the legislation. It's about looking at what the text of it means for us, and making sure our concerns aren't being missed.'

The bill, which will in effect introduce price guarantees for energy providers, is expected to be given royal assent next year.

Chris Rumfitt, MD of public affairs at Edelman, who is leading the RenewableUK team, said: 'This is the most important piece of legislation in the energy sector since privatisation, and it has a direct and critical business impact on every company in that sector. As a result, comms are of considerable importance.'

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