In the first half of 2020 a nationwide lockdown and curfew meant that Italy was particularly hard hit by the effects of the coronavirus. One consequence of the broad shutdown of activity was a sharp decline in demand for electricity. In March of this year the PUN (the national single price) was running around 30 per cent lower than in January 2020. The lockdown also affected fossil fuel prices. In this light, the fact that Repower Italy was even able to improve its results by comparison with the first half of 2019 is all the more gratifying. Repower Italy’s operating income (EBIT) came in at CHF 56 million, significantly higher than the figure for the first six months of 2019. On the one hand the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent drop in prices and income resulted in a slump on the energy markets. On the other hand this led to an increase in income thanks to good, regular margins on the ancillary services market.
The positive result for the first six months of 2020 was due among other things to the company’s quick response to the new situation around Covid-19-related measures. Within only a few days the organisation was completely digitalised, with each area also able to continue work from home. Another key factor contributing to the very good half-year result was the Teverola combined cycle gas turbine plant, which ran exceptionally profitably over the period under review. The company took all steps necessary to ensure the power plant’s on-site staff could continue to work in a safe environment. The importance of Teverola became clear during the crisis: the plant was able to take advantage of the extraordinary conditions to post a very good performance above that of the first six months of 2019. The sales department even managed to acquire new customers during the Covid-19 crisis thanks to digitalisation and a channel specially modified in line with the extraordinary situation.
Renewable energy assets operated as anticipated, with minor losses owing to unfavourable weather conditions for energy generation. In April and June 2020 Repower Renewable took over two photovoltaic installations already in operation with an installed capacity of 14.3 megawatts of solar power.
On the electricity product side Repower Italy kicked off 2020 with PUNica, a power offering where the trading fee is calculated as a percentage of the total amount billed. In response to Covid-19, Repower Italy launched PUNica nobile, a modified version of PUNica where the customer increases the margin by an amount that goes as a donation to an earmarked cause. Repower Italy then doubles the amount of the donation.
It was possible to counter an increase in late customer payments in March and April 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis through systematic management and implementing controls. The amount of late payments could be reduced by the end of the six-month period under review.
During the lockdown Repower Italy intensified the online training for its sales agents. There was also a customer survey – conducted by BVA-DOXA, one of Italy’s most important market research institutes – to find out and understand the general sentiment among SMEs in the marketplace in light of the extraordinary situation.
Repower Italy is increasingly well positioned in the electric mobility market. In April, for example, it published the fourth edition of its White Paper on sustainable transport and electric vehicles. The publication was cited by the national trade media for weeks afterwards. On the two-wheeled electric vehicle side, Repower Italy went into cooperation with Fantic Rent, a company that specialises in medium and long-term electric bike rentals and that has achieved renown as a player in the Italian market.
Repower Italy’s various sponsorship engagements suffered the effects of the Covid-19 crisis. Despite the lockdown, the “I’ve got Repower” campaign attracted a lot of attention. In line with its SME consulting approach, at the end of June Repower Italy joined forces with Il sole 24 ore to present to the most important Italian business media eight areas of focus analysing many key sectors of the Italian production system, outlining the various industries before and after Covid-19, and proposing a series of measures in response to the current crisis.
In the first half of 2020 Repower Italy contributed operating income (EBIT) of CHF 56 million to Repower’s gratifying overall results (versus CHF 40.1 million in the first six months of 2019).