NEWS: Norweb Gas hunts PR to present warm front

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.

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

companies’.



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.



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