MET Romania Energy is one of the country’s leading private suppliers of electricity, natural gas and energy services to industrial and private consumers. The company has a regional presence and an overall ambitious growth strategy, counting two recent acquisitions in Romania, Repower in 2016 and RWE Energie in 2018 which placed MET in the top three suppliers.
We are meeting you the day after winning ‘Deal of the Year' at the CEO Energy Forum for your latest acquisition. Can you briefly introduce our readers to MET Romania Energy’s history and your vision for the company?
MET Romania Energy was established in 2005 and is part of the greater MET umbrella owned by the Swiss MET Group, and a strong player in the supply of energy in Central and Eastern Europe. We have a presence in 15 countries, 23 international trading hubs and we employ over 1,700 staff. In Romania the company appeared as a new and nimble player in a field of a long established network of energy suppliers and managed to grow both organically and through an acquisition driven strategy.
Most recently we have added RWE Energie to our portfolio, a move that has consolidated our position and has increased our market share to about 10%, which places us among the top three suppliers in Romania. We are happy to see out work recognized, but we have no intention to rest on our laurels - we are ambitiously pursuing further growth, both organic and inorganic, and we want to play our part in improving Romania’s existing energy infrastructure and energy efficiency.
One of the key strengths of MET Romania Energy lis in its Energy Management Centre. What was the rationale behind this investment?
We are the sole supplier in the country and one of the few in the region to own such an energy management centre, an element that sets us apart from our competitors. In a retail market riddled with uncertainty and unpredictability, it is important to also be able to monitor and manage risk, not just internally but for our customers as well. The centre is active 365 days a year and we are capable to ensure long term predictability, pricing forecast as well as real time consumption tracking. We took on the balancing responsibility on the electricity market back in 2017, and at present we fare third amongst the local players, after CIGA and Electrica.
Apart from supply of electricity and natural gas, MET Romania Energy is also concerned with the use of innovative technologies and green energy. Can you give us some examples of how these are integrated in the wider business?
Of course, we have in fact already invested in renewable energy, more specifically in solutions for photovoltaic systems, from residential use to large parks, and we are in the process of building a wind park. These investments are driven by our desire to contribute to limiting climate change. In the same spirit, we have developed capabilities in the field of charging stations for electric cars - while this is not a strategic direction for the company at present, we do recognize the potential of this field going forward and we want to be a part of it once it gains traction.
Technology wise, we have implemented IoT meter reading devices, which allows for remote and real-time measurement of consumption. These have been very well received by our customers so we intend to continue to make use of innovative technologies and implement smart home solutions. Technology goes hand in hand with human resources of course, so in parallel we are working to maintain a cohesive and attractive work environment to retain staff and operate in a “can-do” working dynamic.
What do you consider to be the main challenges about operating in the local business climate, also taking into account the regulatory framework?
Market liberalization has been a long and arduous process in Romania, and recent legislation appears to bring some winds of change in the opposite direction. I do not believe that ANRE is the “bad guy”, they are doing their job, but having a stable, reliable and predictable framework is crucial to doing business anywhere. I encourage further deregulation as I believe a free market stabilizes itself, and is the best way to ensure both a welcoming business climate for investors, and the best price and services for the end consumer.
A further issue lies with educating the consumer, an ongoing priority to ensure everyone has the ability to take informed decisions. Romania, perhaps more so than other jurisdictions, has rather conservative consumers, reluctant to a change that can and should come about. Whether we are talking about their current energy supply, or even new ventures such as the “Casa Verde” plan currently encouraging growing renewables usage, keeping residential and even industrial consumers properly informed and aware is of key importance.
What are the next expected milestones for the next two to three years for the company?
We are looking forward to the two projects currently unraveling, the wind park already mentioned and our supply of natural gas. The fundamentals are strong, we have been achieving our budget target and growing towards an integrated vertical model. We will keep a customer centric approach in our work and aim to provide a fair and efficient energy supply to both industrial and residential consumers. We are also keeping in mind the state of the planet that we are leaving behind, and the clear, gradual transition towards a green energy market. MET wishes to be a driving force in this respect and expand further into the renewables sector.
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