Agencies in dollars 3 million bid for post deregulation work

CLEVELAND: Utility deregulation continues to be a boon for PR agencies, with Ohio becoming the latest state preparing to mete out big bucks - possibly in the neighborhood of dollars 3 million - for a PR campaign.

CLEVELAND: Utility deregulation continues to be a boon for PR agencies, with Ohio becoming the latest state preparing to mete out big bucks - possibly in the neighborhood of dollars 3 million - for a PR campaign.

CLEVELAND: Utility deregulation continues to be a boon for PR

agencies, with Ohio becoming the latest state preparing to mete out big

bucks - possibly in the neighborhood of dollars 3 million - for a PR

campaign.



The Public Utility Commission of Ohio will decide in March which of the

six agencies that responded to the PR portion of the state’s RFP gets

the lucrative piece of business.



The list of agencies hoping to secure the PR account includes a mix of

local firms, energy specialists and a single multinational:

Burson-Marsteller, Edward Howard Co., Paul Werth Associates, RMD, the

Energy Advisory Group and Zero Base. PR firms that are part of coalition

bids for the entire program (with advertising and research) include Dix

& Eaton, Watt/Fleishman-Hillard and Wyse-Landau.



Ohio has allocated dollars 33 million for consumer education about

utility deregulation.



Of that, dollars 16 million will be spent during the first year of the

program and dollars 17 million during what education programs

administrator Lee Veroski calls ’a transition period’ that could last an

additional five years.



The exact amount that will be spent on PR has not been specified, but

Ohio PR pros are expecting it to be in the range of dollars 3

million.



Veroski conceded that PR will play a secondary role to advertising in

the marketing effort, which will focus on consumer education. ’We’re

looking for a PR campaign that can support the general message of

advertising,’ she said. However, PR will be entrusted with communicating

two of the major messages: consumers can pick a new electric utility and

they are entitled to compare offers from different providers.



The marketing campaign will commence in July, and consumers will start

picking their own electric suppliers at the beginning of next year.

While the utility commission will select winners for the program, the

Ohio Electric Utility Institute (a utility trade association) will

oversee the program’s implementation.



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