Empower magazine 1/2008
Stora Enso agreed on
A time of renewal
Industrial services are
on the upswing
4–5 A good start in Anjalankoski:
Empower and Stora Enso agreed
on maintenance services
5–6 Employment potential taken into account
6–7 Introducing the new Chairman of the Board:
Industrial services are on the upswing
8–9 A time of renewal
10-11 Comeva opens the door to Scandinavia
12–15 Overalls and laundry service are history:
Lindström developed a comprehensive
16–17 Mastmasters supplements
Empower’s mast business
Picture: Susa Junnola
18–23 Growing energy projects in the Baltic countries
25–26 Polarmit ensures the correctness of metering
26–27 Systems development requires
cooperation with the custiomer
Empower is a multinational service group with energy, telecom
and industrial companies and public corporations as clients.
Market area includes the Baltic Sea region.
9. volume ISSN 1458-0071
Maintenance and operation, installation and EMPOWER SUB-EDITOR COVER
project services and consulting MAGAZINE Tuula Sipola Johannes Wiehn
Energy Market Services and ICT systems,
specialised telecommunication services Empower Oy LAY-OUT SUBSCRIBES
Tel. +358 9 4259 2000 Up-to-Point Oy Tuija Rönni,
ELECTRICAL NETWORKS Fax +358 9 4259 2290 fax +358 2 5355 356
Consulting, engineering and design, construction Atomitie 2 PRINTING or by e-mail
and maintenance FIN-00370 Helsinki Erikoispaino tuija.ronni @empower.fi
CHIEF EDITOR PAPER
Network engineering and installation, maintenance,
planning and documentation Ari-Jussi Knaapila Galerie Art Silk
– combining competencies
CFO, Empower Oy
n the operating model change of Em- com Networks gained a considerable
power implemented in early 2008, three amount of new contracts and other busi-
sectors were determined for the Group: ness activities from operators, the volume
Electrical Networks, Telecom Networks and of which will further strengthen Empower's
Industry services. Empower’s business competitive edge and make the use of re-
strategy and operating model was further sources more effective. A significant move
specified in the spring. The emphasis ar- was made in June through the acquisition
eas and the growth strategy were left main- of the Swedish Comeva Ab, which
ly unchanged. The current annual turnover constructs and maintains telecom and
of the Group, totalling over EUR 200 mil- electricity networks with a staff of 150
lion, can still be doubled during the next people. Later was bought SM-Tele AB,
three years. a Swedish telecom network constructor.
It is possible to increase the number and The company employs 90 persons.
extent of services in every field of Empo- Growth is not an end in itself, but it
wer’s business. The service business is by makes operations more effective and, first
no means a ready field of business – at and foremost, meets the client needs of a
least when it comes to the forestry sector, national and even multinational service ca-
energy production or electricity and pacity.
telecom networks. Empower's clients are large-scale, well-
In the spring, Empower has continued its established companies, which have the
strong growth in every field. The expertise opportunity to take a look beyond the
related to electricity network masts and cycles and also utilise them when carrying
steel structures was further strengthened out structural changes or profitable invest-
by acquiring Mastmasters Oy in April. We ments. In addition to the growth of
intend to utilise its know-how in the Baltics business fields and structural change, they
and in Telecom Networks, for example. also share a number of similar characteris-
The Finnish order base of Electrical Net- tics, such as the requirement of a high level
works is at a record level, and the staff are of safety, reliability and accessibility.
enthusiastic about the good work situation. Safety is required with respect to internal
In June, after six months of intensive staff and that of the client, but the safety of “In the spring,
preparations, Industry services received other people and property also has to be
the responsibility for the maintenance of secured. Reliability and accessibility are Empower has
Stora Enso's Anjalankoski mills. Energy da- emphasised in maintenance tasks, continued its
ta management was reinforced in January revisions, construction projects and fault
through the acquisition of the Ellarex busi- clearing in clients' power plants, mills, elec-
ness operations, which gives our clients tricity networks and data communications, in every field.”
the opportunity to start using the most to mention a few.
state-of-the-art customer information sys-
tem in the market. During the spring, Tele- Have a sunny early autumn!
A good start in Anjalankoski
Empower and Stora Enso
agreed on maintenance
Since the beginning of June, Empower has been responsible for the
maintenance of Stora Enso’s paper and board mill in Anjalankoski.
As Empower already has wide-ranging operations in the Kymenlaakso
area, it also employed dozens of people who were facing the threat
of being made redundant from Stora Enso’s mills.
Markku Niskanen >> Picture Susa Junnola
mpower has become a major
E provider of maintenance services
for industry. The Industry business
area is expected to account for almost one-
fourth of Empower’s estimated turnover of
EUR 250 million for this year, and its per-
sonnel is expected to amount to more
Empower has also over the past few years
successfully developed its service provision
for the paper industry.
“Corporate acquisitions in Lappeenranta
and Kotka and the launch of operations in
the facilities of the former Voikkaa paper
mill gave us a running start. The paper in-
dustry expertise accumulated at the Voikkaa
office has benefited us. Since the beginning
of June, we have also had an office in An-
jalankoski,” says Antti Ruokonen, head of
Empower’s Industry business area, who
considers that open-mindedness and flexi-
bility have been Empower’s advantages
when entering new territories.
As Empower has several offices and
wide-ranging operations in Kymenlaakso
and a need for skilled personnel, it was pos-
sible to employ a larger number of the per-
sonnel than anticipated from Stora Enso’s
mills in Kymenlaakso. A total of 154 per-
manent employees of Kymenso Oy, the
maintenance company owned by Stora En-
so, transferred to Empower in Anjalankoski.
“Besides ensuring the efficiency of paper Extensive training and orientation
events for personnel joining
and board production, the fact that we were
Empower were launched at the
able to offer more jobs than our competi- beginning of June. Antti Ruokonen
tors contributed to our success in the com- contributed to these events.
petitive tendering. The goal is to employ
75 to 100 more people by the end of the
year,” says Ruokonen. Employment
Flexibility and efficiency
Empower is today an even more notewor-
thy maintenance service provider for the
paper industry, particularly in Kymenlaak-
so. The company’s position is strengthen-
ing further as negotiations on transferring
the maintenance operations of Stora En- Juha Vanhainen, Executive Vice President,
so’s Kotka mill to Empower are under way. Newsprint and Book Paper at Stora Enso Oyj,
“Maintenance operations for the paper
industry are managed in a centralised admits that employment considerations favoured
manner from the Production Services unit Empower when Stora Enso considered
of the Industry business area, which super-
vises the maintenance service profession-
maintenance options. Social responsibility
als moving from one mill to another. This contributed to the choice.
arrangement increases the flexibility of
operations and enhances expertise,” Markku Niskanen >> Picture Susa Junnola
He considers the service agreement with uha Vanhainen emphasises “Stora Enso aims to support business
Stora Enso to be a good solution for the
personnel as well. He praises the Finnish
Paper Workers’ Union, which took a posi-
”J that Empower was a competi-
tive alternative not only com-
mercially but also technologically. Em-
operations that can offer jobs to employ-
ees facing redundancy. The fact that Em-
power offered employment to dozens of
tive attitude towards the outsourcing power’s employment potential was also people facing the threat of being made re-
agreement that increased the union mem- taken into account.” dundant had an impact on our decision.” >>
bers’ employment opportunities. Ruoko-
nen expects the demand for paper industry
services to continue growing both in Fin- According to Juha
land and abroad. Vanhainen, maintenance
requires more and more
“Finns are pioneers compared with their specialised expertise,
neighbours, and the market is promising which service companies
not only in the West but also in the East, are in a better position to
where new industrial plants are being built maintain and develop than
a paper mill that focuses
and old ones are being renovated.” on its core competence.
are under construction
The fact that Kymenso’s partially nation-
wide partner and supplier network is now
available to Empower also contributes to
the company’s good potential for increas-
ing its operations in the paper industry.
“Service agreements are tailored in ac-
cordance with the strategy used in the
maintenance operations of each factory.
Component maintenance and repairs will
be made more efficient by means of the
maintenance centres under construction,”
says Ruokonen, promising that Empower
will invest in the development of industrial
The know-how of Empower’s profession-
als providing services to various fields of
industry can be put to wide-ranging uses.
The employees of the Voikkaa office, for
example, participate in the repair and main-
tenance of wind power plants in Finland
and the Baltic countries.
The transfer to Empower of the opera-
tions of Kymenso, the company that was
previously responsible for maintenance
at Stora Enso’s mills in Kymenlaakso,
Introducing the new
was a special case. At its other Finnish
mills, Stora Enso manages maintenance
Chairman of the Board
operations as before, by itself and with
“However, the arrangement in Anjala
and Inkerois is the first of its kind in
services are on
that maintenance is provided entirely by
an external service company. The cut-
backs in production in Kymenlaakso led
to the outsourcing decision,” says Van-
“Stora Enso aims
to support business
can offer jobs to
Making every effort
As with other companies in the field,
Stora Enso is making every effort to im-
prove the efficiency of its operations.
“Mill maintenance is one area subject
to continuous monitoring, particularly
as cost reductions are possible in this
sector. In addition, maintenance requires
more and more specialised expertise,
which service companies are in a better
position to maintain and develop than
paper mills, which focus on their core
“Empower is succeeding
competence,” says Vanhainen, who is a and growing. It has com-
member of Stora Enso’s Group Execu-
tive Team. mitted management with
The paper industry labour market or-
ganisations are praised by Vanhainen.
an entrepreneurial spirit
“The basic issues and facts have been and expertise.”
recognised and understood. Fortunately,
improvements in production are no
longer restricted by a ban on
subcontracting – which is good as all
means available are needed to maintain
the paper industry’s competitiveness.”
Johan Bjurström estimates
that in Sweden, industrial
services will also be
purchased more and more
from service companies.
“It will be important that
Empower establishes a
credible presence in the
Johan Bjurström has been Empower's Chairman of the
Board for over six months, and he has been positively
surprised by the strength and dynamics of the company.
He mentions that he has undertaken to sparring the growing
company's management, which further develops the
operations model - and even sets an example.
Tuula Sipola >> Picture Ilkka Ärrälä
ohan Bjurström, Chairman of the efficiency and further developing the opera- Perhaps the unhurried progress made by
J Board of Empower, has built his ca-
reer in private equity companies,
and he has solid expertise in corporate ac-
tions,” Bjurström points out.
The ownership structure of Empower is
perfectly suited to increasing the commit-
Swedes is due to the slight differences be-
tween our business traditions. According to
Bjurström’s experience, decision-making by
quisitions. He is currently the managing ment level towards the company. AAC Cap- Swedes and the Dutch is similar: it is based
partner of the Stockholm-office AAC Cap- ital Partners owns 63.5 per cent of the com- on consensus gradual progress. Finns are
ital Partners. Before this, Bjurström was pany, whereas the management of Empower more straightforward.
managing director at CVC Capital owns the rest. Bjurström is one of the part- Bjurström praises the spirit of progress at
Partners´s office in Stockholm. ners who own AAC. Empower, but still emphasises the impor-
Finnish companies became more familiar tance of good leadership and new ideas
to Bjurström a few years ago when AAC Extensive responsibility originating in-house. These are things that
Capital Partners acquired Iittala 2004. From Bjurström describes himself as a Chair- cannot be acquired from outside as
Iittala it withdrew in 2007. At the moment, man of the Board who engages in open dia- “thought products” provided and applied
AAC's more than EUR 2 billion portfolio logue and is enthusiastic about improving to all sectors.
includes three Finnish companies: in addi- Empower in the long run. He finds it
tion to Empower, there is Loparex Oy, important to stay in regular touch with other
which manufactures siliconised release lin- Board members and the Managing Director.
ers and speciality papers and Helo Oy, man- “We hold discussions often and
ufactoring saunas and sauna products. The extensively with Aappo Kontu outside of AAC Capital Partners
remaining companies are based in official meetings. He gives me good view-
Denmark, Sweden and Italy. points regarding both the operative activi- AAC Capital Partners is a leading European capi-
ties of the company and its line of tal investor. The company administers in excess
Success requires business.” of EUR 2 billion. AAC Capital Partners focuses in
commitment Bjurström finds it appropriate that he is MBO and MBI acquisitions in profitable, northern
Empower's ownership changed at the start involved in creating and determining the European industrial and service companies which
of this year. The capital investors 3i and strategy. As Chairman of the Board, he produce cash flow, and the value of which usually
Profita Management and the company’s wants to ensure growth in the company's ranges from EUR 50 million to EUR 500 million.
management sold Empower to AAC Capital value and the benefits received by the own-
Partners and to Empower’s management. ers are a top priority, but he also wants to
The Board of Empower
From 2003 to 2007, Empower increased its make sure that the strategic objectives are
sales from EUR 80 million to approximate- determined properly with respect to both Johan Bjurström
ly EUR 162 million, and doubled its the owners and the management and staff as Chairman of the Board
personnel to just over 2,000 employees. At well. Managing partner, AAC Capital Partners
the same time, profitability almost tripled. “Empower does not operate only for its Kristofer Runnqvist
In fact, the new investor is expected to owners and clients. In order to do well, it Investment Director, AAC Capital Partners
bring quick moves and rapid growth to the must also approach social requirements Board member
company. Now the objective is to increase with an open mind,” says Bjurström. Bo L Elisson
Empower’s turnover to over EUR 400 mil- Senior Industrial Adviser,
lion by 2011. This will be achieved through Finland is followed by Sweden SENSA Corporate Advisors
organic growth and business acquisitions. The sector providing services related to en- Board member
AAC Capital Partners became interested ergy, telecom and industry is growing in Petteri Walldén
in Empower because it was in its interests to Empower's market area. In Finland, growth CEO, Alteams Oy
acquire a new company for its Services sec- during the last few years has been very Board member
tor. Bjurström has been positively surprised strong in the telecom branch in particular. Aappo Kontu
by Empower’s dynamics and strength. Industrial services are a close second. President, Empower Oy
“Empower is succeeding and growing. It Bjurström estimates that development in Board member
has committed management with an entre- Sweden will gradually move in the same Timo Suominen
preneurial spirit and expertise. Growth ap- direction. Executive Vice President, CFO, Empower Oy
pears to be interest in the company´s cul- “Moves made by Finns are watched care- Secretary of the Board
ture. The challenges deal with increasing fully in Sweden,” Bjurström asserts.
A time of
New challenges move
RENEWAL Empower swiftly forward,
and as a growing company
it is renewed and developed
in many ways. One area
that receives attention is
marketing and customer
Renewal of the increasingly
wide-ranging Empower will
also manifest itself visually
when the company’s visual
identity is reformed towards
the end of the year.
>> Picture Susa Junnola
took up the post of
business area at the
beginning of this
year. In his leisure
time, he readily
takes the helm
aboard his sailboat
he preconditions for improving International partners “A reputation is created as a combined
T awareness of the company are
good, as Empower participates in
the construction and maintenance of soci-
Empower’s identity and reputation is now
being dynamically developed on a long-
term basis. Knaapila says that the change
effect of acts and the communicated mes-
sage. Strong growth creates an energy
around it, whose positive appeal we must
ety’s vital infrastructure. process has already accelerated as new know how to cultivate and deploy skilfully.
“The importance of electricity and tele- business areas have grown over the past few A good reputation attracts customers, em-
communication for companies and house- years. ployees, partners and financiers.”
holds continues to increase. As Empower “Internationalisation introduces new as- The fact that much is going on at
plays a key role in the maintenance of elec- pects to the renewal of marketing. We focus Empower may also give rise to undesirable
tricity and data networks, it should not be in particular on Sweden, where the developments. The company should avoid
difficult to attract attention. Empower is prospects for companies providing high- excesses and resorting to simple solutions
renewing itself and wants to communicate quality services are favourable. Business in its desire to do things quickly. Knaapila
more actively,” says Ari-Jussi Knaapila, development continues in the Baltic coun- emphasises that promoting the well-being
who joined Empower Group at the begin- tries, and we are looking for new customers of Empower’s personnel plays a key role in
ning of the year. in Russia, too,” explains Knaapila. growth management.
Knaapila, who is in charge of the Tele- Knaapila believes Empower holds an ad- “We must carefully analyse the organisa-
com Networks business area and customer vantage by the fact that companies that op- tion’s capacity and potential for the next ef-
relastionship process in Group manage- erate internationally look for partners in ac- fort. We must also be open to change inter-
ment, says that Empower is moving in tra- tors operating in a number of countries. nally.”
ditional ways into a new direction. Companies that construct electricity and Knaapila prefers to discuss marketing in
“The starting points for reputation man- telecom networks in the Nordic countries general terms and the customer process as
agement and the renewal of marketing and are known to appreciate knowledge of the part of marketing.
visual identity are the same as with other local conditions. “Customer relations have often involved
“More than 90 per cent of the construc- personal connections, which personnel
tion and maintenance of telecom networks transferring from the client to Empower
“A good reputation has already been transferred to separate have often intensified. Such relationships
companies in which the telecom operators have not always been easy to manage, and
attracts customers, no longer own even a small minority share. having too close a relationship is not always
At the next stage, competition between beneficial for the development of a
employees, partners service provider companies will become customer relationship.”
and financiers.” more intense than ever. It benefits all par- Knaapila considers active market moni-
ties, including consumers, that there are a toring and responding to changes important
number of equally strong companies com- in terms of developing the service for exist-
companies. We define the target position peting for customers in sound ways,” says ing customers as well.
and what we promise to provide to our cus- Knaapila, describing the development in “In addition, we must make an effort in
tomers. We then formulate this into as clear the Nordic countries. terms of companies that are not yet our cus-
a message as possible.” tomers. A good service provider must retain
Knaapila has noticed that Empower is Implementing change its sensitivity – including a sensitivity to
fairly little known outside the energy sector, Empower will more actively listen to the change.”
even though the company’s growth has par- customer and recognise new needs.
ticularly focused on services provided to “Empower’s role has been and continues From dozens to
the telecom sector and industry. to be to enable change and implement hundreds of customers
“It is important to intensify communica- change. As industry continues to focus on Empower, which specialises in infrastruc-
tions as the new fields have high growth its core business in accordance with its ture construction and maintenance as well
expectations. We have new customers and strategy, there is demand for known and re- as services to industry, has a rapidly grow-
stakeholders in the forest industry and the liable service providers in growing ing customer base. Instead of a few dozen
telecom sector, for example.” markets,” says Knaapila. customers, the company is now marketing
Empower has an interesting field of op- He emphasises that Empower wants to its services to a few hundred energy, tele-
erations. be proactively involved in the change com and industrial companies.
“The energy sector is subject to increasing process, and not just react to it afterwards. Growth also improves Empower’s poten-
interest, with ecological values also being “We will succeed in this when our own tial to develop its services to the energy
discussed. The construction of electricity organisation carefully monitors the devel- sector and improve their efficiency.
networks is growing both internationally opment of various sectors and companies.” “Our new markets seem to have higher
and in Finland, and data networks continue growth expectations than the old markets,
to develop. In turn, the changes under way Deploying the growth drive which also continue to provide work and
in the paper industry alter the traditional Knaapila knows from experience that a orders,” says Knaapila, emphasising that
operating models. Empower is deeply in- confidence-building story makes the man- Empower is not forgetting its roots.
volved in all of this,” says Knaapila. agement of a company’s reputation easier.
Comeva opens the door to
Jan Hagenström and his colleagues in Comeva’s management team had no
plans to sell the company at the end of last year – until, that it, they were
contacted by the right buyer. Barely five months later, they became Empower’s
first acquisition in Sweden. “It is both an honour and stimulating to be able to
open the door to Scandinavia,” says Jan Hagenström, CEO of Comeva.
Text and pictures Sebastian Persson
mpower had been planning to ex-
for them the turbulence meant transferring outsourcing these tasks to a contractor, an
pand across the Baltic for some all ground, technical and installation work extensive process commenced and Jan, to-
time, and by autumn 2007 the list of to external suppliers. gether with his colleague and financial
potential Swedish acquisitions had grown to manager Håkan Bengtsson, ended up join-
over 100 companies. At the top lay Comeva, Flying start for newly-fledged ing the work group in charge of the spin-off.
a Gothenburg-based telecommunications entrepreneurs Soon the idea was born to run the business
company with branches in five different lo- Jan Hagenström was Telecom Networks´ without outside help, but some security was
cations in southern Sweden and very broad section manager for more extensive ground needed first – security that materialised in
expertise. The company was founded in work in western Sweden, having worked his the form a contract agreement for continued
1994, when an operational part of what was way up from the company floor. Over 24 cooperation with Telecom Networks.
then Telecom Networks (now Telia Sonera), years he has held titles such as engineer, “It was in no way certain that we would
was spun off. At a time when many state- planner, instructor and works manager, and get the assignment, but once we got it,
owned enterprises were being questioned in was responsible for ground and construc- everything quickly fell into place. With a
Sweden, Telecom Networks was one of sev- tion work in western Sweden in the mid signed contract in our hands, we started
eral that implemented major changes, and 1990s. When the decision was taken to start Comeva, and from our very first day there
• 56 years old
• Background as engineer, instructor,
works manager and section manager
at Telecom Networks owned by the
state of Sweden (now Telia Sonera).
• Family: Wife Charlotte and children
Michael (39), Jonas (22) and Lisa (16).
• Interests: The whole family loves
sailing! First boat purchased 30 years
ago, and the family seizes every
opportunity to go to sea. Jan is also
interested in music and together with
his friend Calle, he plays covers from
the 1960s and 1970s in “The Come-
back Band”. His repertoire includes
numerous hits by Cliff Richard, Elvis,
Eagles and John Fogerty’s Creedence
Clearwater Revival, among others.
were 33 employees at the company. It
was bewildering, but incredibly exciting,”
“Sometimes not Sonera’s decision to move its network own-
ership to Skanova and become an
says Jan. everything turns out infrastructure company for everyone – not
just individual end customers. A trend and
Stability as a as expected – but development that involves requirements for
In a few months, Comeva will be 15 years
that doesn’t need a larger network and, as previously
mentioned, improved ability to cover larger
old. In that time, it has experienced enor- to be something geographical areas.
mous expansion, but also at least as much
stability. While it is not unusual for negative. Some- Exciting future
telecommunications companies of a similar The immediate future will be intensive and
size to experience several organisational
times the results are instructive for Comeva, which will now be
changes and changes of owner, at Comeva even better than incorporated into the Empower family in
Hagenström has guided the company as the best way. The right contacts will be cre-
CEO since day one. you’d hoped!” ated, and, of course, Hagenström hopes to
“In order to grow, balance and long-term be able to share as much of our excellent
thinking are required, and that has always company culture as possible.
been our aim in the management team. Our “We are looking forward to an excited
customer promise is to be a “reliable part- “Working solely at a local level is no development process. When we started the
ner”, which demands not only stability but longer possible, but with the extra muscle company, we were exciting about starting
also the courage to dare to develop and that the merger with Empower brought, we something new, and we now feel the same
push the business concept forward. The have significantly greater opportunities to way about introducing our Finnish friends
feeling of having found a purchaser with compete in procurement processes at Scan- to Sweden. It feels like we are really speak-
exactly the same excellent ambitions was, dinavian level. Various forms of partnership ing the same language – even if that does
without doubt, a contributing factor for us are becoming increasingly common and we not mean error-free Finnish just yet,” says
accepting the offer,” says Jan. regard this as an excellent way of expand- Jan, smiling.
ing, although we are actually selling our Empower’s expansion to Scandinavia will
Hotly watched ownership interest. In purely practical continue, and we hope to create further
– from several directions terms, however, there will be no major links with our future Swedish colleagues.
Initially, ownership of Comeva was change other than the fact that the feeling
extremely democratic, and all 33 employees of security will be even greater for both
contributed to the capital required to start management and personnel,” says Jan.
the business. However, it soon became clear Other trends have also been noticeable in
that this arrangement was anything but sim- the Swedish telecommunications industry
ple. It became increasing complicated to recently. The market is currently
repay colleagues when they retired and the characterised by considerably more players
owners of the company gradually left. In than previously, as well an increasing num-
2004, the management therefore decided to ber of customers who are themselves net-
purchase Comeva from the other joint own- work owners. Telia Sonera, which was pre-
ers. This was barely three years before the viously virtually the only player in that po-
first contact with Empower. sition, is now joined by operators such as
“We were already being watched by oth- Tele 2, Telenor and several different energy
er interested purchasers, but as we had only companies.
just taken over, we were not the least bit in- At the production level, increased coop-
terested in selling. But with Empower, we eration between various technologies such
saw synergy effects we had not seen previ- as fibre-optic cable, copper cable and radio THIS IS COMEVA
ously, and after having met Ari-Jussi Knaa- links has been seen. Speeds are gradually
• Founded in 1994
pila, we slowly started to come around to increasing, as is the amount of data being
• Number of employees: 125
the idea,” explains Jan. sent between units – another factor
• Turnover: EUR 17.8 million
contributing to increased demand on sup-
• Offices in five different locations in
Challenging industry in flux pliers’ work and products.
southern Sweden: Gothenburg,
Comeva has recently reached a critical size. As the number of network owners
Uddevalla, Borås, Laholm and Svedala.
During the last few years, the company has increases, so does the number of construc-
• Some of the company’s customers:
participated in several exciting procurement tion variants. Many municipalities
Telia Sonera, Göteborg Energi, CSIT,
processes, but the trend is clear. Purchasers previously built their own broadband net-
Relacom and a number of different
are now making increasingly tough works, whereas today these are currently
demands, not only in purely production often linked into ‘regional networks’. Pro-
• Acquired by Empower
terms but also for suppliers’ geographical jects at a national level are therefore virtual-
in the end of May
coverage. ly standard. An example of this is Telia
service has developed into an
easy-to-access service for
the clients, while also being
According to Marko Pajula, work clothing
materials have changed to a great extent.
Different tasks set different demands for
the characteristics of the fabrics. Related
issues are researched at Lindström, and
cooperation is carried out with the
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health,
for example. “Rather surprisingly, thick
cotton is still a frequently-used work
Overalls and laundry service are history
It took 160 years for Lindström to take the leap from being a textile dye
house, situated in a building located on the hill where the Finnish Parliament
House currently stands, and become a concept-oriented international
player. Dye pots, washing the laundry of private households, cleaning and
waste management were left behind along the way. The workwear service
developed from a laundry service provider into a workwear provider that
cherishes the visual look of its client companies.
Tuula Sipola >> Pictures Susa Junnola
he Roiha family is a fourth genera-
and repair them if necessary and add the
tion shareholder in the textile service finishing touches in order to deliver the
company Lindström. When he items back to clients' closets. The service
bought the textile dye house and laundry ensures that each employee has individual Group
from AB W.E Lindström in 1922, it is highly clothing, which corresponds to their meas-
unlikely that Johan Roiha, the principal
shareholder of Uusi Pesula Oy, could – even
in his wildest dreams – imagine what
ures and work tasks, clean and ready to use
in their closet. Lindström stores the items
and also takes care of their disposal when
L indström provides for
companies workwear, mat,
hygiene, shop towel, restaurant
dimensions the company would reach in the they reach the end of their life-cycle. textile and personal protection
21st century. The idea of module laundry At first, this kind of process might seem equipment services in Finland.
constructed on the interchangeable platform to be uncomplicated. However, that is not the Lindström’s foreign subsidiaries
of a lorry and delivered abroad, or providing case, since the process requires commitment provide workwear services in all of
large-scale companies' entire personnel with from the staff. All stages of the service have the countries the company has
lease clothing, would have been the ravings to be repeated as agreed, in a flexible way operations in. Furthermore, it
of a lunatic. that adheres to the concept, because even the provides mat services in the Baltics
Lindström currently operates in approxi- slightest changes may multiply expenses. and Russia, among others, and
mately twenty countries in Europe and “We pay a lot of attention to employee hotel and hospital textile services in
Asia. It is one of the largest workwear initiation. Each employee at Lindström has Finland and Sweden. A subsidiary
service providers in Europe, and the received training that suits his or her tasks. called Vision Design supplies solu-
Finnish market leader. The training of staff working in sales and tions for workwear tailored according
The company has workwear service cen- its interface, for example, takes a couple of to corporate brands, and for
tres all around Finland. The newest centres months,” says Pajula, and tells that he has PR and corporate textiles.
were opened in Jyväskylä and Oulu in also personally familiarised himself with The company’s turnover in 2007
June. Lindström has approximately twenty varied work stages. totalled EUR 227 million, showing
laundries in Finland. “In the beginning of my employment, I a 12 per cent growth in comparison
worked at a laundry and in the delivery ve- to the previous year. The company
A well-functioning concept hicle, among others. This is how I gained employs 2,300 people and has
According to sales director Marko Pajula, know-how regarding the work process and operations in approximately twenty
Lindström’s workwear service has devel- the concept.” countries.
oped into an easy-to-access service for the
clients, while also being environmentally Environmentally
sound. Lindström's service representatives sound operations
all around Finland retrieve the laundry Pajula emphasises the significance of re-
from the agreed locations, after which the sponsible operations. Besides financial
textile maintenance personnel wash, check and social factors, all planning takes >>
sustainable development and the environ- from Lindström. Empower has operations
mental impact of the operations into ac- all around Finland, in dozens of locations.
count, which are also addressed in staff Earlier on, Empower’s workwear was
training. washed and maintained at different loca-
Washing workwear consumes a consider- tions, depending on the handiest way work
The brand is
able amount of energy and water. The clothing maintenance could be carried out taken into
ecological footprint is also affected by the in the location in question, or depending
chemicals used in the washing process, on how it always had been performed.
their consumption levels, and emissions Sometimes, Empower even relied on
lthough the tasks in question
caused by the delivery. Delivery route
optimisation can have an influence on the
its own clothing maintenance resources,
and workwear was washed in between
workers' tasks, using a washing machine
A determine the model and
material of work clothing, the
“Lindström services are emphasised by situated in the corner of a storeroom or corporate brand is taken more
extensive product life and a life-cycle phi- other suitable facility. and more into account.
losophy. We approach the process from the However, the number of people who Adequate practicality and safety
client’s viewpoint,” says Pajula. need work clothing has increased a great are key issues when it comes to
According to him, environmentally deal. The current number in Finland totals industrial work clothing. In some
friendly solutions are carried out on all approximately 1,200. As a whole, the work cases, the legislation requires that
areas, as planned. Firstly, they are taken in- clothing process started to become a func- outfits include a certain safety
to account in the entire maintenance and tion that required an extensive amount of colour, but otherwise the company
service process, but also in product acquisi- work, and it was not related to Empower’s colours are used to an increasing
tion and in the disposal of products that ha- core business. extent.
ve reached the end of their life-cycles. The Typically, work clothing is changed Different trends and market
laundries recycle water and select the wash- once a week. This means that one outfit is changes give their own flavour to
ing agents carefully. In Hämeenlinna, Lind- in use, a clean one is waiting in the closet, work clothing as well – for both
ström has a sewage plant of its own. and a third one is being washed. In some standard models and individually
Lindström monitors the condition of cases, e.g. when handling lubricants or designed clothing.
workwear and repairs it for as long as is chemicals, this kind of rotation cycle is It is unlikely that there is a com-
reasonable. Worn-out clothing is disposed not enough. In those cases, a different pany in Finland, the work outfit of
of according to applicable legislation – policy that better suits the situation is which does not have a corporate
some of the clothes are still good for recy- agreed separately. logo on the back. This aspect is
cling, while some of them are delivered Power line installers and other personnel taken care of by Lindström as
to a power station to serve as fuel, for working on poles and outdoors also need well: They have a piece of cloth
example. Disposable products are used varied outfits for different weather circum- with the corporate logo made on
very seldom in the service. Fabric sacks stances. Even the hardened supermen of the back of the work clothing. If
are the number one choice when trans- Empower do not like working without the logo is changed, Lindström
porting clothing. quilted clothing at the height of dozens has a new piece of cloth sewn on,
In many cases, oils and different chemi- of metres, in very cold weather and in a to replace the old one.
cals are absorbed in materials. Hazardous chilly and strong wind. Some tasks, such
waste is collected in the washing process as roadwork, require work clothing with
and delivered to Ekokem. safety colours.
All in all, the personnel of Empower
Empower’s workwear have approximately 100,000 clothing
needs are growing items in use. Their annual costs total
Empower is one of the hundreds of com- hundreds of thousands of euro.
panies ordering their workwear services
Interest towards the Estonian
market yielded an invention
t that point, we did not have any idea of the functionality of the Estonian market.
Lindström did not want to carry out any risk investments, so we had to come up
with a new solution. For Estonia, a laundry was constructed on the interchangeable
platform of a lorry.
It consisted of three washing machines, three tumble driers and working facilities for
six,” says Marko Pajula, sales director at Lindström.
This is how Lindström’s internationally unique innovation, the module laundry,
patented in 2002, was invented. With the module laundry, it is possible to extend
operations abroad, taking small steps with inexpensive costs, while ensuring
the same high-quality service everywhere.
business in Sweden
n the beginning of August, Empower Oy
I made an agreement with SM-Tele För-
valtnings AB to acquire the business of
SM-Tele AB and Anläggningtjänst Anders
Blom AB (“SM-Tele”). The companies pro-
vide services in the telecommunication sec-
tor in eastern and southern Sweden; their
turnover for 2008 is EUR 10 million, and the
number of personnel totals 90.
In Sweden, Empower started out with a
company purchase earlier in the summer.
With the purchase, the telecom and electrici-
ty service provider Comeva AB became part
of Empower Group. SM-Tele AB was found-
ed in 1989, and its HQ is located in
Empower has aimed at establishing itself
as a new kind of player in Sweden, providing
services related to the construction and
maintenance of telecommunications
networks, data communications networks
and electricity networks. To an increasing
extent, the customers want to cooperate with
the service provider which offers services on
a broad geographical area. Expanding and
strengthening operations in Sweden also
supports Empower’s strategic objective to
become a leading service provider in the
Baltic Sea, area in selected lines of business.
Empower receives a
significant order for
mpower will provide Fingrid with a
E 400kV substation in Petäjäskoski and
a 220kV substation in Valajaskoski.
The value of the delivery package is more
than EUR 15 million, and it includes optional
The 400kV delivery to Petäjäskoski in-
cludes the equipment delivery, power line
work, testing and implementation of a
400kV dublex substation. The 220kV
project delivery to Valajaskoski includes the
equipment delivery, construction work,
power line work, testing and implementa-
tion of a 220kV substation.
Between 2008 and 2010, Fingrid will re-
inforce its main grid connections in north-
ern Finland by investing more than EUR 50
million. Empower is strongly involved in
these projects, which also include the ongo-
ing 220kV Petäjäskoski-Valajaskoski power
For additional information, please contact:
Miika Tuominen +358 50 514 7494
“For us, it is important to manage the entire
process from the drawing board to delivery,"
say (from l to r): Construction Manager Kari
Rautiainen, Sales Manager Esa Vasama,
CEO Maunu Penttinen and Project Manager
Harri Väre. The team is sitting around a
"scenery pole" in Espoo. The bottom part of
the pole has been upholstered with wood
that suits the forest landscape.
Empower’s mast business
Mastmasters supplies high steel structures for telecom
operators and many kinds of infrastructure projects.
More and more frequently, masts are required in
demanding locations, due to the terms of the environment.
Tuula Sipola >> Picture Susa Junnola
astmasters Oy became part of Special sites and
M Empower Group in the spring.
The acquisition supports Em-
powers’ goals of increasing the know-how
Maunu Penttinen, CEO of Mastmasters,
is of the opinion that being able to deliver to
“Now we have
the suitable team
required in power line and telecom mast demanding locations is an asset of the com- with which to
construction in its market area. pany. As an example, he mentions the deliv-
Mastmasters was founded in 2002 and it eries of the line and radar signs of the new
employs nine people. Its head office is in Vuosaari harbour’s shipping lanes. When
Espoo, but the installation team is based in planning the implementation of the work,
Alajärvi. The five founders of the compa- the sensitive environment in the area was
ny, top professionals in the industry, still taken carefully into account. The helicopter influenced by Empower’s resources for
work at the company. All of them gained turned out to be a suitable tool for this. supplying nationally comprehensive
mast structure-related expertise for More and more often, clients request ex- deliveries and the company's strong
instance from their previous employer, tensive delivery packages. Mastmasters foothold in the Baltic market.
Transmast Oy. would not have been able to pull that off “Now we have the suitable team with
on its own. Also the Baltic market is now which to implement ideas. Other signifi-
open for it through Empower. cant things of course include the manage-
Most of the 100 metre long telecom masts ment and streamlining of procurement and
“Most of the 100 in Finland, and little by little in the Baltics as the subcontracting chain," says Penttinen.
well, have been set up. Now the main task is For example, close cooperation is
metre long telecom to remove shadow areas, which can be cov- carried out with some machine shops that
masts in Finland, ered with less than 40 metre masts. The tele- manufacture steel structures. Similar inter-
com networks in Lapland´s mountain area ests are a uniting factor in this as well.
and little by little in are also under replenish. The annual turnover of Empower’s mast
However, the tasks of a mast professional business is approximately EUR 10 million.
the Baltics as well, do not stop there, even when the work con- One third of the total comes from Mast-
have been set up.” cerns a mobile network. masters, and the rest originates almost
“Mastmasters hasn’t had the resources entirely from the Baltics. The figure does
for maintenance tasks, but in the future there not include power line poles or other steel
In Finland, Empower has supplied high will be more and more mast reinforcement structures required in electric networks.
steel structures mainly to serve as power assignments as the technology changes and Empower is accustomed to supplying
line poles and for street lighting, and it has the capacity increases. Now the masts set volume products in its power line projects
designed and delivered telecom and radar up in the 1970s are replaced," Penttinen in particular, whereas Mastmasters, being
masts to the Baltic countries. The Lithua- clarifies. a small-scale company, has specialised in
nia-based mast provider Empower Fideli- demanding specialty products. Whether it
tas specialises in telecom masts, which it More together was about volume products or a tailored
has delivered mainly to Lithuania and Why did Mastmasters choose Empower? site, you can’t learn the design process at
Latvia. According to Penttinen, this was school, but in practice as time goes by.
Growing energy projects in the Baltic countries
Growing energy projects in the
The Baltic countries are looking to combine their energy markets with
the Nordic and west European markets. This development, together with
the energy markets becoming more open and new energy production
solutions becoming available, will bring on new grid investments in the
near future – sooner in some Baltic countries, a little later in others.
New energy production solutions are also being investigated.
he Baltic energy market is fairly
is of course no wonder, as 80% of the elec- build a 700 megawatt connection from
small. Traditionally, the grids have tricity in the country comes from Ignalina. Latvia or Lithuania to Sweden. The con-
been connected to the Russian If the nuclear power plant is out of the struction of a 1,000 megawatt transmission
grid, but the decision-makers in Estonia, equation, the only major power producer line between Lithuania and Poland has al-
Latvia and Lithuania wish to promote would be the Elektraina power plant, using ready been confirmed.
closer connection of the grids to the natural gas and Orimulsion, a mixture of
Nordic and west European energy bitumen and water, as fuel. Entering the open market
markets. The EU has granted Estonia a transition
period for the complete opening of the en-
New connections ergy market by the end of 2012. Currently,
Estlink 1, the sea cable connection
“Energy about one third of the market is open.
between Estonia and Finland completed at consumption is The Latvian and Lithuanian households
the beginning of 2007, conveys electricity have been able to select their power sup-
in both directions. No major amounts of steadily increasing, plier freely since the middle of 2007. All
energy are currently taken to Estonia. The market participants also have the opportu-
Estonian power plants, using oil shale as a
requiring larger nity to use the transmission and delivery
fuel, would have potential for selling ener- amounts of lines for the transmission of electricity.
gy to other countries. OÜ Jaotusvõrk, the distribution network
The Daugara river, by far the largest en- imported energy.” operator of the Estonian state-owned Eesti
ergy source in Latvia, does not offer sur- Energia power company, intends to invest
plus capacity. Oversupply exists only dur- in automatic meter reading technology
ing the spring floods. For this reason, once the energy markets are open. In the
Latvia has been the first to buy electricity first stage, real time information would be
from the Nordic market as soon as Estlink The power companies of the Baltic available for 220,000 subscribers. The plan
was completed. Energy consumption is countries are currently planning an Estlink is to install meters everywhere in the
steadily increasing, requiring larger 2 in cooperation with the Finnish main country in less than three years.
amounts of imported energy. Currently, the grid company, Fingrid. The 650 megawatt The Balts are interested in emission-free
share of import is 30% of the overall need cable would cost approximately EUR 250 energy. Wind farms have been steadily ris-
for energy. million, and would be completed in 2013. ing in Estonia in recent years. The Latvian
At this point, it is still uncertain whether The likely location would be between Nar- subsidiary of Eesti Energia is also consid-
Lithuania will decommission the Ignalina va and Kotka. ering the potential of wind farm invest-
nuclear power plant at the beginning of Another interesting plan is the joint ven- ments in Latvia. Investigations have also
2009. An extension has been applied for. It ture of the Baltic energy monopolies to been launched in Lithuania.
Estonian energy projects
keep a service company on the move
The Estonian power grid esti Energia's distribution network “Empower has achieved success in this
construction market will
experience major growth
E operator OÜ Jaotusvõrk, which is
one of Empower’s most important
customers, has published an investment
competition,” he says, pleased with the
The best success has been reached in the
programme. Most of the investments are distribution network business, with a 16%
in the next few years. targeted at strengthening the distribution market share. For the distribution network
Distribution network network and removing the voltage problems maintenance operations, Empower's share
and losses experienced in the network. will soon increase to nearly 40%. This will
investments will increase Significant projects also include the be the result of a three-year contract
by nearly EUR 300 million adoption of automatic meter reading. between Empower and Jaotusvõrk on distri-
When the Estonian energy market opens bution network maintenance and installa-
during the next three up in 2013, new meters will be installed tion work in the Harju, Pärnu and Viljandi
years, and main grid proj- for 220,000 subscribers. Within three regions.
years of the opening of the market, all Es- There have been no transmission grid
ects are expected to recov- tonians will be able to monitor their ener- projects in the last couple of years. Now
er from the recent slower gy consumption in real time. it seems that the wait is over and the
investments of the Estonian main grid
period. Major wind power Changes in the network company, OÜ Põhivõrk, will increase to
projects will continue. According to Managing Director Juho the earlier level. >>
Järva from Empower AS, Estonian energy
Tuula Sipola >> projects are interesting, and competition is
Pictures Eesti Energia, Susa Junnola increasing.
Growing energy projects in the Baltic countries
“Empower's ambitious objective
is to achieve 20 per cent growth
in Estonia. This year, our
turnover will increase to nearly
EUR 39 million. To achieve that
objective, we must work seam-
lessly as a team and continue to
develop our competences,”
says Managing Director Juho
Järva from Empower AS.
According to the investment plan, in Estonia with its 39 megawatt capacity. gain ground in Estonia. Together with the
Põhivõrk will carry out several 330 kilo- Earlier, Empower participated in Winwind Finnish Empower, opportunities are being
volt power line projects. Of substation Oy's Viru-Nigula and Roüste wind farm investigated to offer various services for
projects, the most extensive is the Araküla projects. Projects to be launched soon telecommunications operators. These op-
330 kV substation. Construction include the Vanaküla 9 megawatt wind portunities include the construction of a
will begin in 2009. In addition to farm and the Aser 24 megawatt power third generation communications network.
Põhivõrk, AS Fortum Tartu also has plant; Empower will be carrying out
110 kV projects in progress. the electrical installations for both,”
Empower is currently repairing a says Järva.
110 kV substation in Rapla. At the same He says that Estonia supports renewable
time, a 110 kV cable connection is being energy sources. This has an effect on the
built in Kadaka. price of wind power, attracting wind power
investors to Estonia.
More wind power “In addition to new projects, we are also
“Major Estonian wind power projects interested in wind farm maintenance work.
have kept the transmission network We have developed a 24/7 maintenance
business busy. Empower performed the model for wind farms,” Järva explains.
electrical installations in the Estonian He also believes that Empower's commu-
Aulepa wind farm, the largest wind farm nication network construction services will
Picture Leons Balodis / Latvija Institute
Empower expanded its
Empower acquired the distribution network building
and maintenance business of SIA Elko in Latvia early
this summer. In the acquisition, 135 employees were
transferred from Elko to Empower SIA, headquartered
in Riga. The net sales of the transferred business
total 10 million euro.
mpower acquired the electricity dis-
subsidiary in Latvia is now 66 percent. The
tribution network building and local management owns 29 percent.
“The electricity network
maintenance business of the Riga- Empower SIA Managing Director Valdis
construction business in Latvia
based company SIA Elko. Empower has Rudzis says Elko is a successful company, requires an increased interna-
been operating in Latvia since 2003, but but the time has come to look at things tional focus that Empower will
previously its operations focused on the from a new perspective. provide,” says Empower SIA
Managing Director Valdis
building of power lines and substations. “The operations must improve and move
Rudzis. He underlines that the
The acquisition made Empower the second forward. Building an electricity network is market area will inevitably
largest network-building company in increasingly international. The business expand beyond the borders of
Latvia. area extends beyond Latvia and the Baltic Latvia; otherwise it is not possi-
ble to succeed in the heavily
As part of the arrangements made with countries, all the way to the entire Baltic competitive industry.
Elko, Empower’s ownership share of its Sea region,” Rudzis says. >>
Growing energy projects in the Baltic countries
Elko sold its network building ope- to see cooperation increase significantly in The expansion of
rations but continues and further develops the near future. Cooperation is possible in
its wholesale business with 65 employees. material acquisition; best practices are ex- Empower into Lithuania
The selection includes products and mate- changed and personnel are trained for the began with acquisitions
rials for the electricity and telecommuni- new operational model.
cations industry that are sold to the energy in 2003, followed by
and community development sector, and Through the hard times more purchases in
industry retailers. Elko was founded at the end of the 1960s.
The majority of the workload consisted of 2005. Even at that
A highly motivated owner electrification projects for large, produc- time, gigantic energy
Rudzis says competition in the electricity tion plant type collective farms, or
network construction business in Latvia is kolkhozes. This was the Soviet Union era, production and electricity
fierce. However, he believes in Empow- and there were several kolkhozes in the transmission projects
er’s success in the market. Riga region.
“Our employees are motivated profes- As the Soviet Union crumbled, Elko were being prepared
sionals who are not at all likely to change was privatised and 30 employees of the for in the country.
jobs. They know the people in the industry company became its new owners. In addi-
and have created solid contacts with them tion to purchasing the machinery and Tuula Sipola >>
over the years. As the owners of the com- equipment, they also acquired a facility Pictures Susa Junnola,
pany, they are specifically interested in and its lot near the Riga airport. Some of Lietuvos Energija
developing their own business and making these people still own a part of Elko, no
mpower builds and maintains
it thrive,” Rudzis affirms. longer in the electricity network business,
At the moment, Empower SIA has sev- and of Empower SIA as well. the electricity network
eral 110 kilovolt projects underway for its “The beginning of independence took a everywhere in Lithuania.
largest customer, Latvenegro. Road light- lot of perseverance and patience. The Lat- Offices concentrating on these
ing projects are also continually on the vian economy was in a miserable condi- operations are located in Vilnius and
work list. The largest projects include, tion. There was no work and there was no Siauliai in the northern part of the coun-
among others, the building of two substa- money,” Rudzis recalls. try. The subsidiary Empower Fidelitas in
tions. The mast building business is also Little by little, contracts started trick- Vilnius builds masts for the needs of
going strong. ling in from Russia in the mid-1990s. telecommunications companies, for
These were gigantic projects with cont- example.
ractors from several different countries. About ten independent electricity
It was around this time that Rudzis met companies operate in Lithuania, with
Finnish companies and people in the the state-owned Ignalina nuclear power
“Our employees industry. plant clearly the largest. It generates 75
He mentions the building of a city in the percent of the electricity consumed in
are motivated middle of a forest in Russia as the largest the country. Lithuania has also been able
professionals who and most peculiar project of all time for
Elko. The former Soviet military bases
to export significant amounts of elec-
tricity to other countries.
are not at all likely and their employees from Eastern To comply with the conditions of EU
Germany moved to Russia. A new town membership, the remaining 1,300 mega-
to change jobs.” for 10,000 inhabitants was built primarily watt unit at Ignalina should be closed at
for them near Samara. the end of 2009. This would create de-
“The town was built in a completely un- pendence on imported energy and drive
inhabited area, in three years. The entire electricity prices higher. Thus Lithuania
infrastructure with thousands of residen- wants more time for the power plant.
“We have carried out a lot of mast tial units, a hospital, day care centres, etc. The new nuclear power plant being
building work for Tele2 over the years. was built there. During that time, Elko in- planned in Lithuania by the Baltic coun-
The construction of large telecom masts is stalled electricity in various targets,” tries and Poland would not be in opera-
nearly complete for now. Radar towers are Rudzis says. tion for years. The European Union may
still being built. The erection and installa- He recalls having made his first contact make its final decision during the
tion of 14 radar towers is underway,” with Empower at the beginning of 2000. autumn on whether the power plant will
Rudzis states. Cooperation on telecom mast deliveries be closed or if it can continue in opera-
He says the nature of customer’s orders for Tele2 was launched that year. Around tion for longer. These decisions will nat-
relating to the electricity network is gradu- the same time, Empower established a urally have an effect on not only the
ally changing. company in Latvia. structure of energy production but also
“”Turnkey deliveries are on the For several years, the Empower opera- on the electricity network.
increase. The customer also wants to in- tions in Latvia only comprised transmis-
clude more design in the delivery.” sion network building. After the Elko ac- Focus on competitiveness
Rudzis is already looking towards the quisition, Empower is a strong player in Vida Lukoseviciene, who was nominat-
other Empower businesses. He would like the distribution network business as well. ed the Managing Director of Empower
Lithuania on standby for
large energy projects
AB this spring, previously worked at Siauli- Quest for new targets
ai Energetikos Statyba (SES), a distribution The main grid operator Lietuvos Energija
network building company that Empower and the companies managing distribution
acquired from the Lithuanian government networks are among Empower’s largest
in 2003. clients, according to Lukoseviciene. One of
Now she also leads the power line and the two distribution network companies,
substation builder Empower in Vilnius, for- privately-owned Ruty Skirstomieji Tinklai,
merly Elektros Tinklu Statyba, which was operates in the Vilnius region in the eastern
purchased from the government in 2005. part of the country. The other is state-owned
Lukoseviciene began her career at SES Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai. Its operations
about twenty years ago when the company cover western Lithuania.
was part of Lietuvos Energija, the Lithuan- According to Lukoseviciene, there are
ian state-owned energy company and main several companies competing for the elec-
grid operator. SES became an independent tricity network building projects. While
operator in distribution network building everybody is waiting for new large projects,
and maintenance in 2001. the old networks in the country are being
The Lithuanian energy business, current- maintained and partly modernised.
ly in a standby mode, is already offering The power line project between Lithua-
challenges. nia and Poland that has been on the draw-
“Empower has grown into the largest ing board for four years has finally been
electricity network builder in Lithuania. given the green light. Currently it seems
This, however, is not enough to preserve the like the 400 kV transmission connection
competitive edge. We need more informa- would be operational in 2012. The length
tion exchange and cooperation between the of the transmission connection would be ”Currently, Empower has
Empower businesses in different countries,” 150 kilometres. plenty of maintenance work in
both transmission and distri-
Lukoseviciene emphasises. The planned undersea cable from Lithua- bution networks. The largest
She says another challenge in the near nia to Sweden is another interesting project. project is a 110 kV power line
future will be to find skilled labour. This is Its maximum transmission power would be construction contract. New
a familiar situation in the electricity build- 1,000 megawatts. The needed length of the line is being laid to a length
of 130 kilometres,”
ing business elsewhere in the Baltic coun- cable to be laid in the bottom of the sea Vida Lukoseviciene says.
tries, and in Finland as well. would be 350 kilometres.
A faulty meter or an error in electrical power metering may
have an enormous and totally avoidable impact on the amount
of electricity bills. Where electricity consumption is high,
precise electrical power metering pays for itself quickly.
Tuula Sipola >> Pictures Kai Tirkkonen
“In addition to inspections and error reports,
the customer is also provided with informa-
tion on power use by consumers in conflict
with the agreement, such as excessive fuse
sizes, faulty reactive-power compensation
equipment and causing disturbances in the
network,” explains Jukka Heikinheimo.
“I have come across serious
errors in a few of my inspec-
tions. On the other hand,
smaller errors or risk factors
are discovered constantly.”
ot many industrial companies in
of the electrical power meters at the sub- els throughout Finland, making around one
Finland have appropriate measur- stations. thousand inspections per year.
ing equipment or professionals of The issues of importance include how “I have come across serious errors in a
their own to systematically measure the much electricity the power plant generates, few of my inspections. On the other hand,
correctness of electricity consumption in how much electrical power the energy com- smaller errors or risk factors are discovered
various process parts. This attracted the at- pany takes from the grid or how much elec- constantly. In such cases, the meter error
tention of Jukka Heikinheimo, who, since tricity the production process consumes. may have been a few per cent. If the cost of
the latter part of the 1990s, was in charge of Often companies do not have the answers to electrical power is one million euro for the
meter installations at Empower. these questions. However, precise, correct company concerned, the error causes a fair-
He recognised a gap in the market and in meter readings often have a considerable ly large loss at the annual level.”
2005 established Polarmit Oy, which spe- impact on a company’s finances.
cialises in the design, installation and “If electrical power of ten megawatts Several potential
inspection of electrical power measuring flows through the cables and the meter er- causes of error
equipment. However, he still continues to ror is 0.5 per cent, this seemingly small According to Heikinheimo, errors are most
cooperate with Empower. In connection error causes considerable loss at the annu- often caused by a faulty or erroneously pro-
with energy data management services, al level.” grammed meter or incorrect coefficients in
Empower provides its customers with an the invoicing system. Erroneous
energy measuring equipment inspection Compensation connections, erroneous rating-plate values
service implemented by Polarmit. issues are tricky on the current transformer, a cut off meas-
In addition to inspections, Polarmit is in- Heikinheimo maintains that the correctness uring circuit and overloaded current trans-
volved in AMR (automatic meter reading) of metering is not always paid attention to, formers may also cause metering errors.
projects in distribution network companies. even in large power plants. A faulty meter Meter connections becoming loose over
Its tasks include replacing the meters of giving false readings or erroneous coeffi- time may also result in error.
large-scale electricity users. cients in the invoicing system may cause “The most secure and precise result is
particularly unpleasant surprises to trans- obtained by inspecting the measuring
Even a small error mission companies, for example. Accord- equipment in operating conditions using a
has an impact ing to electricity supply conditions, the portable meter inspection device. The de-
In addition to its Managing Director Jukka user of electricity is entitled to compensa- vice is connected to the same measuring
Heikinheimo, Polarmit provides permanent tion based on a meter error, even over a pe- circuit as the meter to be inspected so no
employment to one other person. Polarmit riod of ten years. break in power supply is necessary,”
and Empower collaborate in a number of On the other hand, the amounts invoiced explains Heikinheimo.
projects. from some industrial properties may have Energy efficiency and the high cost of
Etelä-Pohjanmaan Voima Oy is one been too low over a long period. A typical energy are much debated and topical issues.
power company for which Polarmit and cause for this is human error during meas- Accordingly, Heikinheimo wonders how
Empower have jointly provided services. It uring equipment installation or equipment even major grid companies have not neces-
acquires the services related to meter data malfunction. If a property has housed a sarily taken into account the financial sig-
in its regional grid from Empower. number of tenants over many years, it may nificance of correct meter data.
Empower remotely reads the devices locat- not be a simple task of tracking down the “Modern measuring equipment provides
ed at substations and transfers the data company to be invoiced. precise meter data. The costs involved are
wirelessly from the meters to the system Polarmit’s clients include not only elec- reasonable compared with the potential loss
where it can be presented to the user as a tricity production and transmission compa- a malfunctioning meter may cause in the
Web-based report. Polarmit inspects and nies but also industrial companies with high long run. The investment pays for itself
reports on the functionality and precision electricity consumption. Heikinheimo trav- over a short term,” maintains Heikinheimo.
with the customer
Empower provides its customers with information systems servic-
es developed for the energy sector. Empower has opened up
new vistas by acquiring the Ellarex business operations from the
Finnish CCC Group. The operations include a customer service
and invoicing system, a measurement data management system
and related information systems products.
Text and picture Tuula Sipola
he history of Ellarex as an expert in
to be compared with the new one in order service function. For Vaasan Sähkö, inte-
customer service systems for energy to secure all of the necessary data, such as gration into another system is being built,
companies has its origin in the year contracts and invoicing details. The stage and the annual new system version is being
1997 when CCC, which developed the El- was implemented together with new users, created.
larex product family, obtained its first cus- which means that it also provided training.
tomers from the energy industry. Now this Synergy benefits
know-how is part of Empower’s Energy Da- The system "lives on" According to Jurvanen, the Ellarex product
ta Management services. and improves family has not yet been marketed powerful-
Ellarex, the product name of the system, ly abroad, since domestic demand has been
The system was developed was formed as the project progressed. Dur- high. He admits that product development is
for the energy industry ing the years, its features have been being carried out all the time taking into ac-
In 1997, the electric companies Vaasan polished and developed mainly in coopera- count also the possibility of combining El-
Sähkö, Kokkolan Energia and Korpelan tion with the client. larex services with other Energy Data Man-
Voima together started seeking a new data “It is essential to engage in continuous agement services provided by Empower.
system after having been disappointed with and regular cooperation with the client. So far, Ellarex has been offered to power
the previous system for a number of Clients give us valuable information regard- companies only. However, Jurvanen finds
reasons. On the other hand, the electrical ing the direction in which the system must that the system would suit any company
power market became a free market around be taken and developed. Independent devel- that needs mass invoicing. The largest El-
that time, which created a need for new opment work is mainly related to the man- larex client has approximately 100,000 in-
kinds of features in the customer service ageability and technology of the system," voicing objects.
and invoicing system. Examples included says Jurvanen. He also reminds us of the evident syner-
issuing concerning offers, contracts and the Ellarex has also been a member of the gy benefits with Empower's Energy Data
electricity exchange. CCC was selected as Association of Finnish Energy Industries’ Management systems. CCC and Empower
the supplier. message task force, where Empower has started their cooperation in 2006 when Em-
“The project was a hard effort totalling a also been involved earlier on as well. This power started developing the EllaEDM
couple of years. At first, the most challeng- channel provides further information to measurement data management system,
ing topic for me was becoming familiar base development to work on. which can be used to provide services for
with the special characteristics of the ener- The Ellarex system is currently used by Empower’s clients and to which AMR (au-
gy branch. Around 20 people from CCC 13 power companies, but from a legal view- tomatic electricity meter reading) services
participated in the project, along with a point, there are approximately 30 user com- can be connected.
couple of people from each client compa- panies. The market share is 15 per cent. There were 13 employees who
ny,” says Antero Jurvanen, Ellarex Cus- A few rather large projects are transferred from CCC work at Empower’s
tomer Manager. currently in progress. We have agreed with office in Oulu. Each one of them is an in-
According to him, the process started, as Oy Herrfors Ab on the delivery of a formation technology expert whose tasks
is the standard procedure in systems proj- customer service and invoicing system mainly include software development. Dur-
ects, by carrying out a thorough assessment within the year. It includes the functions for ing Empower, the Ellarex team has been
of the old system's data. The old system has electricity sales and a Web-based customer reinforced with a few people.
Antero Jurvanen started working for CCC
in 1985. Before that time, he worked for
Kajaani-based Edacom Oy, a provider of
data systems for service stations. “When
my supervisor founded CCC together
with a few other people, I joined in,” says
Jurvanen about his history in becoming
an expert in the customer service
systems for the energy sector.
“Clients give us
regarding the direction
in which the system
must be taken and