LONDON—UK energy player Npower is to consolidate PR duties with GolinHarris, marking a major new business success for the Interpublic Group agency.

The decision follows a lengthy pitch process that saw as many as 50 agencies initially submit credentials. The business, worth approximately £1m, was previously split between McCann, Frank and Camargue.

GolinHarris takes charge of a combined brief that covers consumer and corporate, including Npower's industrial and commercial unit; SME business; and eco/green deal. The decision follows a final pitch round that featured at least three other contenders.

The new mandate comes after Npower restructured earlier this year to focus on retail and vowed to restore consumer trust. The company is aiming to turnaround a reputation as a the country's "worst energy supplier", after being continually criticised for poor customer service.

Soon after the restructuring, comms director Allison Cole left the company. She has since been replaced by E.On's Guy Esnouf, who began his new role earlier this month. 

"We have a challenging time ahead of us and I believe that the knowledge and expertise displayed by the team will be invaluable in the coming months," said Esnouf. "We have been accustomed to working with top class agencies and I would like to thank McCanns, Frank PR and Camargue who have worked alongside us over the past few years for their invaluable contribution. We part with some real regret.'

Despite its pledge to listen more closely to customer concerns, Npower this week courted controversy when it became the latest energy company to announce a significant price hike. 

Npower is the latest in a string of high-profile assignments won by GolinHarris UK over the past 18 months. Other major wins have included Cadbury, Virgin Media, Flora and Coca-Cola's low-calorie programme.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with an ambitious team at the heart of an important national debate. npower have set us bold targets and we can't wait to get started," said GolinHarris international president Matt Neale.