Illinois Utility Launches Educational Mailing

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Illinova Corp., Decatur, IL, the parent company of Illinois Power Co., dropped a mail campaign this month to keep its approximately 1.2 million customers informed of their options as deregulation approaches.


The mailings will include a toll-free number for customers to get more information on the deregulating process and invites customers to attend deregulation seminars, which will be attended by analysts from Xenergy.


Deregulation will come first to some commercial and industrial customers in October and by Jan. 1, all of the electric suppliers to businesses in the state will be deregulated. Residential electrical consumers will be free to choose their electric company by Jan. 1, 2002.


The focus of the campaign is to educate Illinois Power's customers of the nuances of deregulation rather than sell electricity. The mailings will plug the stability the 75-year-old utility offers with the assurance that the utility will not abandon its customers, even if it loses money, said Peter Millburg, director of marketing communications and community relations at Illinova Corp. He was referring to the gas deregulation process when smaller companies jumped ship because of eroding profit.


"We are not doing anything very innovative with our campaigns," Millburg said, "but they are solidly effective. Our customers don't want innovative, they just care that their lights work and they can save money."


He would not reveal specifics of the campaign.
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