As the previous year, in 2017 Sales continued to concentrate on expanding the sales network. The results at the end of the year were good. Another 183 consultants were added to the agent network, and the plan is for this expansion to continue in 2018.
Last year the sales network provided more than 27,000 business customers with electricity, around 4,000 more than the previous year. This made a significant contribution to the positive results for 2017. In 2017 Repower continued to develop a number of existing products, and officially launched FOCUSCLICK, introduced in February 2017 as a development of the FOCUS product. It is geared to SMEs with annual electricity consumption of 350 to 1,500 MWh. In mid-year Repower also introduced a new, simplified version of its VAMPA contract. While there were still various types of contract for different customer groups in 2016, in 2017 they were brought together in a single, unified offering. VAMPA is an energy check-up done on the basis of thermal imaging. The existing products eFFettiva and DIODA posted very good results in 2017. eFFettiva is designed to boost companies’ energy efficiency, while DIODA involves replacing conventional lighting with LEDs. The number of eFFettiva contracts closed was up 157 per cent on the prior year. DIODA also saw a considerable increase, with the contract closure rate up 43 per cent on 2016.
Repower continued to be very active in the up-and-coming field of electric vehicle services in 2017. One innovation is VEP, stylish street markings for EV parking spots designed by artist Michele Tranquillini and offered in conjunction with PALINA and BITTA charging points.
Accounts receivable management was further optimised, and the portfolio of old overdue receivables was completely sorted out.
In 2017 business at Trading in Milan contributed to the positive result in electricity and gas. This was helped by a general recovery in the Italian economy, which resulted in higher prices, and a decline in production at French nuclear plants. Repricer, a direct electricity and gas contract platform for large consumers, continued to generate numerous deals last year.
The Teverola combined-cycle gas turbine plant exceeded expectations, also making a substantial contribution to the good results posted by the generation business in Italy. The same applies to the three wind farms, Lucera, Corleto Perticara and Giunchetto, which generated more electricity than was budgeted for 2017.
Repower Italy was also very active on the communications side to support its sales channels. Repower continued with the Organismo Perfetto campaign (which presents the company and its consultants as “personal trainers”) as a firm component of its communications in 2017. The company also worked on building a technical and communications partnership with car manufacturer Mini. Another project under the name Homo Mobilis was presented and inaugurated at the Repowercharge stand at the Triennale in Milan. Behind the project is illustrator Michele Tranquillini, who created the Homo Mobilis illustration exclusively for Repower to represent the transportation of the future.
The Market Italy segment’s contribution to the Repower Group’s operating income (EBIT) in 2017 came to CHF 24.3 million.
Last year Repower in Italy provided more than 27,000 business customers with electricity and 11,081 small and medium-sized enterprises with gas. It delivered a total of 3.5 TWh of electricity and 319 million cubic metres of gas, a 13.9 per cent increase on the previous year.
In 2017 Repower continued to expand its sales network to provide all-encompassing customer service across all regions of the country. At the end of 2017, 602 consultants were working for Repower. In 2017 Repower continued to prioritise targeted, comprehensive training to give agents more in-depth knowledge and skills, particularly in energy efficiency, electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging infrastructures. The goal for 2018 is to further optimise and extend the presence of consultants throughout Italy and bring training into line with individual customer needs.
In 2017 Repower officially launched FOCUSCLICK. While the FOCUS product was designed for customers consuming large volumes of electricity, FOCUSCLICK is aimed at SMEs consuming between 350 and 1,500 MWh a year. The product is a simplified version of FOCUS priced more attractively for customers.
In mid-year Repower introduced a new, simplified and uniform version of its VAMPA contract. While there were still various types of contract for different customer groups in 2016, in 2017 they were brought together in a single, unified offering. VAMPA is an energy check-up done on the basis of thermal imaging. The new product offers three different service levels according to the number of thermal images ordered (15, 30 or 50 images). The launch of this simplified product had a tangible positive impact on sales.
Repower continued to be very active in electric vehicle services in 2017. In collaboration with artist Michele Tranquillini the company developed VEP, an innovative project involving designing attractive parking spots for electric vehicles in conjunction with Repower charging stations. These parking spots have artistic road markings which make them stand out visually. This increased visibility is a side-effect that should facilitate promotion of the charging stations.
The RICARICA 101 product was already a great success in 2016, the year of its launch, and in 2017 was substantially stepped up, with around 200 companies involved by the end of the year − double the number at the end of 2016. Ricarica is a charging network that enables travel by electric vehicle right across Italy, recharging at stations offered by high-end establishments ranging from hotels and restaurants to golf resorts. Overall, products and services related to electric vehicles are contributing to Repower’s success: by the end of the year under review Repower’s network comprised 550 PALINA and BITTA charging points across the whole of Italy.
Trading in Milan
In 2017 Repower sold almost 11 terawatt hours of electricity via trading in Milan, and almost 4 billion cubic metres of gas.
In terms of the development of the market in general, the favourable economic environment in Italy in 2017 had a positive impact on results. The increase in prices which resulted from this, coupled with a decline in power generated by nuclear plants in France, were notable factors in this.
The Teverola combined cycle gas turbine plant was successfully deployed for both the ancillary services and day-ahead markets, making a substantial contribution to the good results, as did the especially good performance of the online platform Repricer in 2017. There was a further increase in demand for this web-based tool versus the prior year. Refurbishment work originally scheduled for 2017 was postponed to the beginning of 2018 at the request of the Italian grid operator Terna, and will therefore have a negative impact on 2018 results.
In addition, in the year under review Repower continued with BIG, a project designed to expand the portfolio of large customers. The year 2017 goes down as a success. The share of sales generated by BIG was up significantly by comparison with 2016.
The explosion at Baumgarten, one of Europe’s most important gas distribution stations, which at the end of 2017 interrupted deliveries to Italian and southeast Europe, had only a minimal impact on Repower. After only one day the effects could no longer be felt.
As it had in 2016, the Teverola combined cycle gas turbine plant in the Italian region of Campania posted very good results in the year under review, way above expectations. The asset was successfully deployed for both the ancillary services and day-ahead markets. The reasons for this good result were high summer temperatures and high prices abroad. Added to this was the fact that two competing facilities suspended production for longer than expected.
The three wind farms − Corleto Perticara (Basilicata), Lucera (Apulia) and Giunchetto (Sicily) − also put in an extremely good performance, with yields from all three installations above expectations for 2017. The Lucera and Corleto Perticara farms are wholly owned by Repower; the company holds a 39 per cent interest in the Giunchetto farm.
Repower was also very active and innovative in terms of communications to support its sales activities. Proven campaigns were continued, and new ideas were put into practice. An example was Organismo Perfetto, a campaign portraying the company and its agents as “personal trainers” to business customers. The campaign, which has been a permanent feature of Repower’s communications for several years now, ran on both TV and radio in 2017. A “personal trainer” checks out a company’s consumption profile and suggests customised solutions to help it optimise its consumption and costs.
Repower also worked on building a technical and communications partnership with car manufacturer Mini. In June four media conferences were held to present Mini’s first plug-in hybrid model. Journalists from all over Europe were present, and Repower contributed to the successful presentation by providing seven special “Repower X MINI” versions of the PALINA station, used among other things to charge the new model for test drives.
Another Repower project with a major visual impact is Homo Mobilis, a large-scale illustration portraying the transportation of the future designed by illustrator and artist Michele Tranquillini exclusively for Repower. At the heart of the illustration is an electric car in the middle of a wind tunnel, with whirling words, objects and people all interpreting the vision of the new mobility in their own way.
The Market Italy segment posted operating income (EBIT) of CHF 24.3 million in 2017. Contributory factors included favourable economic conditions on the Italian market, resulting in higher prices, and the better than anticipated performance of the combined-cycle gas turbine plant.