Public relations policies and procedures at Central Illinois Public Service Company : a case study
Kesler, Kathryn C.
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As legal monopolies subject to government regulation, investor- owned utility companies face unique public relations challenges today. This study presents an analysis of the public relations policies and procedures of one such company. Chapter 1 is a description of utility companies and their present public relations challenges. It is based largely on personal, in-depth, taped interviews with public relations executives from six Illinois utility companies. It describes how utility company public relations differs from public relations in other businesses in the private sector because utility companies are legal monopolies and subject to government regulation. It considers how utility services themselves create an additional public relations burden since such essential services are not easily withdrawn from delinquent customers. Another aspect of utility company public relations challenges described in Chapter 1 is that of the excessive costs of nuclear energy expansion and a depressed economy. Chapter 1 also discusses utility company public relations' need to educate publics on the complexities of the utility industry. In Chapter 2, developments in utility companies and public relations are presented. This provides a historical perspective of the role of government in the utility industry. It also describes the effects of changing public attitudes toward the utility industry. Chapter 3 is a case study of public relations policies and procedures at Central Illinois Public Service Company, a combination gas and electric utility company headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. The case study is based on interviews with public relations executives, background information from historical data, previous research, and primary source data. The primary instrument was a comprehensive questionnaire covering all relevant aspects of public relations policies and practices employed by all utility companies, and primarily the Central Illinois Public Service Company. The case study reviews and documents the four-step process Central Illinois Public Service Company used in formulating and executing its 1982 Communications Plan. The case study then provides analysis and evaluation of the process which can be used as a reference for similar public relations challenges.