California's energy problems have inspired other states to shift
gears in public education campaigns designed to raise awareness of
'We're not California' is the common message being pushed in such states
as Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Illinois, which are in
various stages of enabling competition.
Ohio and Virginia are in final stages of selecting PR firms for public
education projects, with agencies expected to be chosen in the next
'We have had to move the issue of California vs. Texas to the front
burner, whereas before it wasn't even on the stove,' said Mike Lake,
managing director of Burson-Marsteller's Dallas office, which is
executing Texas' public education program.
Since California's woes began grabbing headlines, Lake's team has
reworked the campaign's Web site to explain why Texas shouldn't suffer
from California's problems and has provided call center operators with
talking points. Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) chairman Pat Wood
also wrote a much-published opinion piece.
Gregory S. Franklin Associates and Highpoint Communications in New
Hampshire have advised their clients, including Maryland and Ohio, to
take similar action. For a series of Ohio media briefings, the team is
adding information about how the state differs from California.
Pennsylvania has had full-fledged retail competition since last year,
and the state PUC has pushed its chairman, John Quain, to the forefront
of the issue. Quain has appeared on national newscasts and has been
quoted in major papers.