Interview Europ’ Energies 11/19

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Interview with EGSSIS during Gazelec 2019 – Author = Claire Aicardi
This article was published during the november 2019 edition of  Europ’Energies.

Market Solutions: EGSSIS, upstream service provider

The service provider for upstream gas & power operations speeds up the expansion in France & Spain.

In Europe, more and more companies take on the challenge to become an energy supplier. Several of these companies get their supply from third parties (“suppliers to the suppliers”), who act on the wholesale energy markets. Several companies are evaluating cutting out ‘the middle man’ and sourcing directly from the market.

They may have several reasons to do this: better control over costs, realizing savings by cutting out the intermediary, and control over their own sourcing operations, etc. The bankruptcy in 2018 of Anode – a balancing responsible party & wholesale supplier for several smaller power suppliers in the Netherlands and Belgium, some of whom were caught up in the fall of Anode – has also shaken the markets and contributes to the trend of suppliers looking to become fully independent.

Certain large (industrial) consumers may also benefit from direct sourcing for their gas & power needs. If they make this choice, then these suppliers and industrial players become responsible for their own gas & power operations. Most notably they have to ensure nominations towards Transmission System Operators (TSOs) and the balancing of their portfolios.

This requires operational expertise, specialised knowledge, and dedicated staff. EGSSIS, a Belgian company, offers companies to help them with this transition and management of their operations for gas and power.

Active in multiple European countries

Founded in 2008, EGSSIS has evolved over the years. At the moment they are active in 16 European countries. « We have often followed our clients into new markets. The software is the same for each country, but we have to integrate the local rules regarding balancing for each new country. » , specifies Tom Dufraing, EGSSIS’ CEO, to EUROP’ENERGIES.

The 50+ clients are mainly energy suppliers, shippers, and traders. A few references cited are Kinect Energy Group, MET International AG, Enovos, Naturgy, and Coretec. Throughout 2018-2019, EGSSIS has executed a thorough plan for professionalization and growth. The objective is to double revenue within 5 years.

The IT solutions have been improved and became easier to access online for the clients. Currently around 22 employees work for EGSSIS, a « Chief Technology Officer » and a « Chief Growth Officer » have reinforced the management team. Furthermore, a rebranding exercise has resulted in the creation of two nice mascots (following the tradition of Belgian-styled comic books), “Tim and Timo”, the little whizzkid and the butler. « The ‘Butlers and Whizzkids’ brand reflects the value EGSSIS brings to its clients, combining technological expertise with an unrelenting focus to customer satisfaction », says the CEO.

Nominations & balancing process

Concretely, EGSSIS has developed a software platform to manage the process of nominations and balancing, and it has an in-house 24/7 dispatching team based in Aalst, Belgium. In the control room, about a dozen experts are dedicated to ensure 24/7 operations for the clients of EGSSIS. « We can take charge of the whole operational aspect for our customers, or we can do only week-ends, public holidays, and night shifts. All depends on the wishes of our customers.  We are working on behalf of our clients and the lines of communication with each Grid Operator are tailored for each individual customer. », clarifies Tom.

EGSSIS also helps its customers with relevant advice: « You don’t need to engage outside experts. We share our market knowledge with clients and train their own operations teams if required », he adds. The improvements at EGSSIS come at a good time since «a lot of companies in the market are embracing digital transformation, which allows them to take on responsibility for their own upstream operations ».

EGSSIS is expanding across Europe. Two years ago they opened an office in Germany, to cover Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Since early 2019, there is a country manager for France & Spain operating from Paris, Alexandre Ktourza. He has 13 years of operations experience at Naturgy (previously known as Gas Natural Fenosa), most notably as a trader and in pricing and logistical management across Europe.

Across the Pyrenees, the roll-out of new balancing rules by Enagas as from the 1st of January 2020 offers interesting opportunities for EGSSIS. The rise of Power Purchase Agreements across Europe could be a source of activity, with EGSSIS offering solutions to the parties that engage themselves in these long-term contracts.