Sustainability is EVN Bulgaria’s way to ensure high quality customer services

By Dessislava Dimitrova

 

Joerg Sollfelner

Joerg Sollfelner, Chairman of the Management Board, EVN Bulgaria

Q: A highlight in EVN’s business strategy is achieving sustainable growth by lowering grid losses through investments and know-how. What specific steps do you plan to undertake?

A: EVN started its activity in Bulgaria with the privatisation of two stateowned grid companies in 2005 and since then EVN has invested more than 790 million levs (404 million euro) in the country. One result of these investments is lowering grid losses by more than 5.0 percentage points since 2005 and today they are already below 12%. This allows us to save 450 gigawatthours (GWh) of energy annually. We have also reduced the number of outages by 39% for the period between 2005 and 2010.

All this is a direct consequence of our investment programmes which directly affect our customers. Here we are talking about building new lines, transformers and switching stations, replacement of thousands of kilometres of existing grid, etc.

One example is the complete renovation of the grid in Plovdiv’s residential district of Stolipinovo. The investment of more than 6.0 million levs helped us reduce grid losses in Stolipinovo from 40% to less than 5.0%.

All these efforts directly affect the end customer because security of supply is higher and the quality of service is increasing.

For us it is clear that when you operate a distribution grid of more than 60,000 kilometers in length and a large part of which is more than 30 years old, there is one way to go if you want to provide high quality services in the long term. This way for EVN Bulgaria means keeping a high and sustainable level of investments year after year.

Q: What are the focal points of your environmental policy?

A: EVN Bulgaria follows a detailed corporate social responsibility programme with focus on environment, education, health and energy efficiency. In regards to the environment, I can point out our work with the Bulgarian Society for Birds Protection about installing isolators on electricity posts in southern Bulgaria. This way endangered species such as the Imperial Eagle of which only 20 couples have survived in Bulgaria will not suffer from their contact with the grid. We also work with Green Balkans, a nature conservation NGO, on installing safety nesting platforms for storks. In addition we also follow a strict policy when it comes to waste management in all of our 39 client centres. A few months ago we started a project for the restoration of a forest which has been destroyed by a fire.

Q: How does your sustainability strategy apply to EVN’s new co-generation plant whose commissioning is due shortly?

A: The combined production of electric and heating power has proven its qualities as an effective and naturefriendly method when combined with the current best available techniques. In this respect the new cogeneration plant of EVN Bulgaria’s district heating utility in Plovdiv is a good example of combining efficiency with modern technology. The plant with a capacity of 49.9 megawatts (MW) electric and 54 MW heating power is being developed in partnership with Siemens who are the prime contractor on the project.

Q: A few years ago EVN launched a project aimed to raise awareness of energy efficiency issues among school children. What is the scope of this project?

A: This school project is very special for us because it creates awareness among children on the importance of energy efficiency in our daily life. The project started in 2009 and is now expanding to more schools. So far more than 1,800 children from first and second grade have taken part in it and we are very glad to see the positive reaction of children, parents and teachers.

Q: Your collaboration with educational establishments also involves projects with local universities. In what areas do you work together?

A: We started our cooperation with universities just a few months ago and we already have signed one agreement for cooperation with the University of Food Technology in Plovdiv which is a very promising start. We are working on expanding this cooperation with other technical universities because we believe that we can contribute to the training of students with our experience and knowhow.