22.07.2020 | Axpo has been active in Portugal for five years

"We want to help SMEs to get back to normal"

Difficult times are also driving change in the energy sector. In an interview with SAPO24 Diego Gomez, regional manager of Axpo’s Portuguese branch, - explains the operations of  Swiss multinational in Portugal and how it wants to set itself apart from the competitiors. For the past five years, Axpo’s major success in Portugal – as per Diego Gomez - has been its customer retention.

The energy market in Portugal is changing. An industry that, for many years, was controlled by a group of small companies, now allows more energy products to be sold through a free market, which not only attracts more providers, but also offers more solutions to families and companies that need this kind of service for their homes or their business activity.

Axpo is a Swiss multinational with more than 100 years’ history, which has been operating in Portugal since 2009. It is notable for its positioning and its commitment to sustainable and innovative energy solutions for SMEs. According to Diego Gomez, Regional Manager of Axpo in Portugal, the move to Portuguese territory is due to “some clients we refer to as pan-European, who have factories and facilities in different countries.” Axpo had already been operating in Spain for close to two decades before arriving in Portugal, having reached a privileged position in the energy, biomass and gas sectors, and in the commercialisation of energy products.

Diego Gomez, Regional Manager Axpo Portugal
More clients than in Spain

The growth of the company in Portugal (which has already surpassed the number of clients in neighbouring Spain), is founded on a personalised commercial proposal, offering tailored solutions for each business. The multinational offers three rates for its energy products:

  • a fixed rate, in which Axpo sets a fixed price for clients, to be paid for a determined period of time, regardless of variations in market price, and with no additional consumption costs.
  • an open rate, in which the final price defined with the client takes into account the market price variations during a period of time.
  • a guaranteed open rate, in which the client defines a fixed price and an indexed price with Axpo and which, at the end of the agreed-upon supply period, chooses the cheapest of the two.

However, Axpo wants to do more than present clients with rates and - leave the choice to them. According to Diego Gomez, “the client doesn’t get the greatest benefit by just choosing one product over another. Axpo provides added value to its clients by recommending the product that best suits them at that particular time.” As an example, he described a situation last year where energy reached very high prices, and where many suppliers recommended a fixed price so that customers would not suffer from even greater increases. Meanwhile, Axpo recommended a price indexed to the markets because it believed that prices would naturally fall in time. Now, Axpo clients are about to benefit from a reduction in prices at almost half of those recorded in 2019, something that would otherwise not be possible, because “you can go from an indexed price to a fixed one, but not from a fixed price to an indexed one,” explained Gomez.

Credit line for SME

This advice and knowledge-sharing is another of Axpo’s advantages. Axpo wants to be an important partner for its clients in a period when several businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And to translate this into results.

“In the past few months, we’ve attracted more clients than before coronavirus, because we have all the tools for clients to sign contracts digitally, we’ve held meetings via Skype and other platforms, and we’ve closed a series of deals,” shares the Regional Manager of Axpo in Portugal.

The global crisis triggered by COVID-19 has revealed the fragility of businesses, forcing a strategic and operational rethink. Diego Gomez highlights the importance of adopting energy efficiency measures, as “investing in these measures serves to optimise energy consumption, prevent waste, reduce costs and improve profitability.”

In a period where businesses are facing new challenges, Axpo is sticking to its fundamental values. It continues to uphold its commitment to renewable energy, producing investment plans so clients can benefit, for example, from installing solar panels in their factories. “Businesses are more susceptible to investment due to experiencing more economic difficulties than before the pandemic. In order to help these clients to continue investing, Axpo created a credit line supporting these businesses, and is funding clients. When clients sign a photovoltaic [contract with Axpo, we carry out the whole study and development of the project to be presented to the client. When we finally install the panels, and the client begins to enjoy reduced consumption, he only has to amortise the investion from 2021 onwards” explains Diego Gomez.

One of the brand’s success stories in Portugal is DanCake. A little more than three years ago, it became one of Axpo’s main clients in Portugal and, after following the indexed price recommendations, in recent months it was able to achieve levels of energy saving at its factories in the order of 20–30%, thanks to reductions in energy prices caused by the pandemic. However, for Diego Gomez, “After being present on the Portuguese market for five years, Axpo’s major success is having reached a market share in the industrial sector that means we are currently the fifth biggest supplier in Portugal. If we’ve managed to achieve this in just five years and our client retention rate is above 95%, it’s because we’re doing something right.”

Here you can find the original text in Portuguese

How companies can improve their energy consumption

Know what you’re consuming: It’s very important for companies to understand their consumption profile. Through diagnostics and audits, Axpo’s energy assessors help companies to identify which processes are leading to energy wastage. Once these outputs have been worked on, they help to optimise consumption and reduce costs. Axpo still has a consumption monitoring system that gathers useful information on the intervention plan and subsequent energy saving. “We allow our clients to download their consumption from the client area, where they can access the distribution of their consumption, even from the previous day,” Diego Gomez informs us.

Pay attention to the price of energy and the duration of the supply contract: When it comes to electricity bills, timing is everything. “Axpo offers total flexibility. It allows clients to sign up for three months, four months, 12 months, 24 months or 36 months, as part of active management, which allows it to advise its clients on ‘which type of product they should contract, and to get them the lowest price possible,” according to the brand’s manager for Portugal.

Save where you can: At Axpo, the motto is “the cheapest kilowatt is one you don’t consume.” Therefore, it is important for businesses to find ways to use more efficient energy consumption in their various operations. It is in this area that the experience, training and knowledge of Axpo’s employees can be useful, namely through energy audits, replacing luminaries with LEDs, installing photovoltaic panels, attention to penalties for reactive energy and eliminating any additional costs that should not be paid by the client.

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