Still calling your phone service "US WEST"? Can't get the hang of "Questar Gas" over "Mountain Fuel"?
Get ready for another utility name change.
Electric utility PacifiCorp announced Tuesday that the Utah Power name will switch Monday to Rocky Mountain Power. The new name will be used for PacifiCorp's operations in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, which previously used Utah Power and Pacific Power operating names.
The switch brings an end to the "Utah Power" designation, first used in 1912 when dozens of electric companies were consolidated into Utah Power & Light Co. The abbreviated "Utah Power" was used when UPL merged with PacifiCorp in 1989.
PacifiCorp's operations in the Pacific Northwest will continue to be called Pacific Power.
"We've done a little bit of informal opinion research about what people think, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive," said Utah Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen. "It does simplify what we call ourselves, and that's more important than what you might think.
"We've run into a number of occasions in which people been confused about, well, who are we? Are we Utah Power, are we ScottishPower, are we PacifiCorp, or what is the company identity? This is an effort to put a public brand on the PacifiCorp company operations in the Intermountain West."
Eskelsen said the name change was suggested by several stakeholders involved in the MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. acquisition of PacifiCorp from Scotland-based ScottishPower, which was completed in March. They wanted a regional approach to operational focus, management structures and decisionmaking about investment and operations, "and this name is reflective of that," he said.
In a prepared statement, Richard Walje, president of Rocky Mountain Power, said the company "will still be the company you've known as Utah Power and Pacific Power. The only changes we plan to make are those that make us more responsive to our customers, more focused on how our electricity drives the economies of the communities we serve and more committed than ever to the safety of our employees and the integrity of the essential service we provide."
An advertising campaign is planned to help customers understand the change. Bills delivered to customers Monday and Tuesday will have the previous names because of being printed and mailed Friday. Bills prepared beginning Monday will carry the new name.
"The most important thing for our publicity and advertising campaign is to help people know that Utah Power is Rocky Mountain Power," Eskelsen said. "When they see the bill, they should know that's where it's coming from and to go ahead and pay it. Our biggest issue is making sure people understand when they see the new company name, they know who it's coming from."
Longer term, Eskelsen said, he realizes the legacy name will be around awhile. He still hears people refer to utilities by names that went by the wayside in the 1940s and '50s.
"Legacy names will hang around a long time, but we thought it was time to begin rebranding the company to demonstrate in an external way the internal changes we've been through the last six months, the kind of focus we're trying to build and the improvements we're trying to make for the future," he said.
In addition to Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power, PacifiCorp will use the PacifiCorp Energy name for the company's generation and mining operations throughout all six states in the PacifiCorp territory.Mountain Fuel, by the way, switched to Questar Gas in August 1997, although its parent, Questar Corp., had already been around for several years. US WEST merged with Qwest Communications International Inc. in mid-2000, with Qwest as the surviving name.
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