Adrian Florea
General Manager
Electrogrup

12 August 2019

Electrogrup was founded in 1997 and has grown from a small electrical installations consultancy company into a reputed power, telecom and civil infrastructure builder. The company is one of the largest infrastructure building companies in Romania that offers integrated services (power, telecom, industrial constructions and smart city solutions, part of a group of 5 companies active in in the field of infrastructure.

 

Please introduce our readers to the beginnings of Electrogrup and the company’s current activities.

Electrogrup was founded in 1997 as a small energy consultancy but grew tremendously in complexity over time. The shift to building telecom infrastructure happened very naturally, given that telecom uses pretty much the same tools and workflow that we use for our energy projects, making it a market we could easily expand in. Over the years we have greatly diversified our services exploring new markets and opportunities. In 2007 the shareholders decided to separate the Group’s business lines into different companies and then in 2017 we united them all under the umbrella of E-INFRA Holding .

Since we started our activity we built over 10.000 km of fiber optics networks, hundreds of electrical substations and telecom stations, micro-hydro energy stations, wind and solar farms and we recently entered the smart city market. The fact that we had many strong directions covering both the energy and telecom sectors helped us avoid market and investment fluctuations by focusing on the most promising sectors at any given time while constantly growing our business and starting to provide our services to clients outside Romania’s borders. 

 

The development of Romania’s infrastructure has been noted as a priority by most of the companies we have spoken with. What are the main objectives and challenges when building energy infrastructure?

Indeed, Romania is still facing challenges in the infrastructure department. Any country’s economic growth is highly dependent on it and we are very committed to help with the modernization process. For instance, in the past 5 years, we started expanding our constructions expertise and became a general contractor for bigger and bigger projects in various industrial projects and recently even took ghighway & national road projects. But infrastructure does not only mean highways as many presume. Energy, telecommunications and smart grids are all part of the essential infrastructure we need and we hold great expertise in these fields.

On the energy side, we are presently serving the four largest energy distribution companies in Romania and most of our work is focused on optimizing the efficiency of energy distribution in the region. This mission implies fewer energy stations and substations and a higher degree of automation. This is a necessary investment that results in smaller running cost, an interconnected power grid at a European level and ultimately a safer and more resilient energy system for the consumers. A SCADA system for example that detects a short circuit at a specific station provides a course of action in a nanosecond. This is a speed unmatched by any human reaction and greatly decreases the risk of damage to either the supplier’s or the consumer’s electrical equipment

 

You recently ventured in a new market and opened a Smart City division. How prepared is Romania for this digital future and what are the next steps in this direction?

Prepared or not, Smart Cities are already part of our present and certainly the way of the future. In Romania, the idea is intriguing for many local decision makers but the limited understanding in terms of the need for a very strategic and holistic plan when embarking on this road makes the implementation a difficult task. Local authorities usually have micro ideas like traffic control, smart census and population mobility motorization, smart cameras and so on. But the main challenge in the development of smart cities is building an efficient ICT – Information and communications technology infrastructure that makes room for customization and all these services to be integrated at different points in time depending on budgets. If you have a solid infrastructure, any other service like smart parking, smart public transportation or smart lighting can be added afterwards.

The vendors have a responsibility to educate consumers about technology and services, in this case local authorities. We are trying to teach them to call on experts from the industry as consultants when they have a problem to resolve and allow us to provide them with the best strategies. There are obvious budget limitations especially for small municipalities but there are solutions for that as well. For example, one of the companies in our group, Netcity, the owner & operator of the underground fiber optics infrastructure in Bucharest which is now over 1.400 km and has been developed as a PPP project with the company providing 100% of the funding. , is a network that can and should be used to provide smart services. Even if the infrastructure is ours that does not mean that city halls can not make great use of it and get any service providers to develop projects that use it.

 

All things considered, does infrastructure in Romania make for a smart investment? 

Even if it  may not look like it from a distance, Romania is still an emerging market. Even in the Western Europe there is still a lot of room for infrastructure development and modernization but in Romania we are at about one third of our need and potential. This makes infrastructure projects a safe and fast to make revenue, as well as a low risk investment.

In the period to come Electrogrup is mainly focusing on a fast growth in the Romanian market. We had lot of business in the upper part of the country and now we are expanding our services more to Bucharest area and the South,. We aim to assert ourselves on a regional level as infrastructure owners and builders on any type of infrastructure. In energy, we plan to solidify our position as leaders in modernizing the energy system infrastructure in Romania.

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