PN taking TXU into deregulation era

DALLAS: Porter Novelli has come out on top in the fight to become

TXU Engery's first agency of record.



Other bidders included Weber Shandwick Worldwide, Fleishman-Hillard,

GCI, and Edelman, but PN's work for TXU in the fourth quarter gave it a

leg up. The budget has yet to be determined, claimed Jim Heininger, PN's

Chicago GM.



TXU and other utilities have been gearing up for the January 1 advent of

retail electric competition in Texas. The company added a four-person

marketing communications group about a year ago, and has beefed up its

PR staff, said spokesperson Sandy Smith. TXU issued an RFP for outside

help in September, and hired PN on a project basis in the interim.



PN will help boost brand awareness, particularly in parts of Texas

outside TXU's home turf, where it competes against better-known

incumbents. TXU also wants to strengthen corporate positioning in the

national media, Smith said.



Internally, TXU is coming to grips with how to organize communications

under the competitive framework. Texas' deregulation law requires

incumbent utilities to split their operations into separate generation,

transmission, and retail companies, which can't always share

information.



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