National Grid builds agency roster to convince public on infrastructure upgrades

National Grid has launched a review of its £9m-a-year community engagement roster as it bids to keep the public onside over UK-wide infrastructure investment plans.

Power shift: National Grid plans to invest £30bn in the next decade (Credit: National Grid)
Power shift: National Grid plans to invest £30bn in the next decade (Credit: National Grid)

The FTSE 100 electricity and gas network firm is seeking submissions for a three-year agency roster that includes political engagement, local media relations and community investment.

The comms revamp comes as the firm finalises plans to invest £30bn over the next decade to update ageing infrastructure to harness new sources of low-carbon energy.

However, the National Grid is likely to face significant local challenges, with protests seen this summer across mid-Wales over the installation of 100 pylons and a new substation.

A company spokeswoman said: ‘National Grid is at the heart of one of Britain’s biggest challenges to secure aff-ordable energy, while meeting low-carbon energy targets and connecting communities to new sources of energy.

‘This is a national activity on an unprecedented scale and it is essential we work with communities to deliver the infrastructure that connects people and businesses to the energy they need.’

The review could result in the appointment of up to six agencies, which will commence work next May. The incumbents on the roster, worth around £9m last year, are Camargue, Grayling, Local Dialogue, 3G Communications and JBP.

The search is not expected to affect National Grid’s non-community engagement PR relationships. These include Brunswick’s corporate and financial PR brief, which was repitched in January, and Portland’s ‘public acceptability’ brief.

PRWeek previously reported National Grid was searching for a public affairs agency (1 June), with the process now expected to conclude after the party conference season. The review follows six years with Bell Pottinger Public Affairs.

Community brief

  • National Grid is seeking agencies with a ‘geographic spread’ to present small and large projects around the UK, acting as ‘integral members of National Grid project delivery teams’.
  • Core services include stakeholder engagement; strategy development;risk management; event management; web management; local media relations and local political engagement.

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