Essential parts of Fortum’s customer service are products and services that respond to customer needs, securing the electricity and heat supply, solutions for the future energy system and regular assessments of customer satisfaction. In 2011, Fortum continued to develop its offering for customers, but also suffered from a severe storm that damaged the electricity network and caused power outages for many customers in Finland.
For many years, Fortum has built a relationship of trust with its customers. Customer satisfaction and meeting customer expectations are high on Fortum´s agenda. In order to meet customer expectations, Fortum assesses customer feedback regularly and involves customers in the development of existing and entirely new products and services. Customer satisfaction is monitored regularly during the year.
Climate-benign products to electricity customers
Since 2009, Fortum has only offered CO2-free electricity for its household customers in Finland and Sweden. More and more private customers and companies are demanding that the electricity they buy comes with a guarantee of origin, i.e., information about how the electricity is produced. All electricity sold by Fortum is guaranteed by the European Guarantee of Origin certificate. In Sweden, some products are certificated also by Bra Miljöval and in Finland by SLL Ekoenergia.
Reliable electricity supply becoming increasingly important
Fortum owns, operates and develops regional and local electricity networks and supplies electricity to a total of 1.6 million customers in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The total length of the company’s network is 156,000 km, which is almost four times the circumference of the earth. Continuous investments are made to renew, maintain and further improve network reliability. In 2011, EUR 289 million was invested in new power lines, isolating overhead lines, underground cables and automation of critical parts of the grid, i.e., a step towards a smarter grid with fewer and shorter outages.
The severe storms at the end of 2011, and one of the strongest in 30 years in Finland, damaged Fortum’s network and caused power outages for many customers, and thus put additional focus on a more weather-proof network. The reliability of Fortum’s grids is high. For a number of years, the reliability trend was positive and reached 99.98%. The strong storms affected the reliability significantly and the figure decreased to 99.90% for 2011. As a result, the average interruption duration per customer increased by 5-fold. Fortum will increase investments in a more weather-proof network and has set a target to cut the number of power outages in half. The aim is also to double the number of customers currently within the scope of weather-proof distribution by 2020.
Installation of smart meters to electricity distribution customers
Smart meters offer better control of electricity usage and thus are a step towards smarter energy consumption. In Finland, approximately 580,000 customers will receive new meters before the end of 2013. In 2011, the rollout of smart metering to network customers in Finland proceeded according to plan; by the end of 2011, 160,000 customers had received meters. The new Finnish legislation on hourly meter reading will become effective on 1 January 2014. In Sweden, bringing smart metering to customers was completed in 2009. The installation of new meters in Norway will begin in 2013; altogether 100,000 customers in Fortum’s network area will be connected to the system by 2015. The regulation on hourly meter reading in Norway will come into effect on 1 January 2017.
Towards smarter grids
An increased share of renewable energy, distributed energy systems and demands for energy efficiency are all part of the future society and put new demands on the grid. Smart meters and smart grids will change the electricity market in the years ahead. Smart grids enable customers to produce some of the electcity they use, e.g., through their own solar panels, and to sell their excess electricity to the grid.
Fortum is actively developing the solutions for sustainable urban living. Fortum’s focus in building the future smart grid has especially been on electricity grid development, distributed energy systems and smart-home solutions.
Electrification of transportation
One step towards smarter consumption of electricity is the electrification of transportation. In 2011, the company continued the development of solutions for electric vehicles and introduced a new turnkey concept that provides recharging services of electric vehicles for companies and municipalities in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Fortum’s concept takes care of the whole process: installation of the charging poles, electricity, maintenance and outage service.
Serving heat customers
Fortum’s heat customers are businesses, municipal and private consumers. The company has about 1,400 km of district heat network in Finland, about 2,400 km in Sweden, about 860 km in Poland, about 280 km in the Baltic countries and about 480 km in Russia. The reliability of the district heat networks is being improved by repairing anomalies found in conjunction with scheduled maintenance and by investing in new capacity when needed. When carrying out repairs that may cause interruptions, the aim is to schedule them outside the heating season. All of Fortum’s district heat customers in Finland have been within the sphere of the smart meters since the beginning of 2010. With smart meters, the meter data is received in real time and the monitoring of heat consumption is more efficient. In the autumn 2011, Fortum launched new products for district heating customers in Sweden and Finland; customers can now choose between different types of products instead of only one.
Smart heating and cooling solutions
Fortum is the owner and operator of the biggest district cooling network in the world. In Stockholm the district cooling network supplies more than 400 business customers with around 440 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of cooling energy. Fortum has an installed capacity of 300 megawatts (MW), and all of its cooling is CO2-free. Most of the cooling is generated by free cooling from the sea waters around Stockholm.
Fortum is also the first utility in Finland to develop cooling solutions for industry. For example, the new, eco-friendly server centres and their cooling solutions are examples of smart cooling solutions; heat generated by the servers is utilised in district heating. In the new solution, the consumption of fossil fuels can be reduced by an amount equal to about 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Local environmental impacts are also reduced with the decreased NOx, SO2and particle emissions. The solution will completely eliminate the adverse effects of the server centres' waste heat previously released into the environment.