POWER TO THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS

The Public Utility Commission of Texas has issued a request for proposal, beginning its search for an agency to create the first customer-education campaign for the state’s planned competitive energy market in 2002.
The project will be funded by the Texas Legislature at $12 million for the first year and could lead to as much as $48 million for the four-year assignment.
Replies are due Sept. 18. A decision will be made in November, said PUC customer education liaison Bob Bartels. The review will be managed in-house.
The commission is looking for an integrated campaign that includes advertising, public relations and the creation of a Web site. Shops may partner with specialists in these areas to provide the full suite of services.
The state currently regulates 10 so-called investor-owned utilities to supply energy to about 80 percent of the market. The remainder is serviced by utilities owned by municipalities or energy cooperatives.
On Jan. 1, 2002, independent retailers will be allowed to market energy to Texas consumers at competitive rates.
–J. Dee Hil