Norweb Gas, part of power and water giant United Utilities, is searching
for a public relations agency in the run-up to the full deregulation of
the domestic gas market.
The firm wants PR support on several fronts. These include: raising
Norweb’s local media profile in Kent, East and West Sussex and Avon,
which is deregulated next January; maintaining company awareness in
Devon, Cornwall and Somerset which were liberalised in April;
establishing the company’s UK-wide credentials as a major energy
supplier and as British Gas’s most credible rival and positioning itself
as the ‘consumers’ champion’.
The company also wants ‘an effective incident management procedure’ to
handle such potential issues as ‘complaints relating to doorstep selling
activities, gas explosions... or ‘dirty tricks’ by competitor
The Manchester-based firm’s brief, under its PR manager Derek Brown,
will initially run for six months. The contract may be extended into
1998, when the UK domestic gas market opens up to full competition. The
company is also planning a major advertising campaign in TV, radio and
national and local press.
The United Utilities group, under chief executive Brian Staples,
acquried Norweb Gas in November 1995. It was launched in April 1992 as
Northern Gas, when regulatory changes first allowed major customers to
choose their supplier.