2020 was a remarkable year in many ways, but undoubtedly one that was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic was an incontrovertible demonstration of the need for continuity of service in our industry. The National Security Council described the energy and energy distribution sector as ‘crucial’ and described our services as ‘essential’ to looking after the vital needs of the population. More than ever in 2020, Fluvius and the services it provides in all utility sectors were at the beating heart of society.
The pandemic and the guidelines issued by the Security Council initially forced us to put a large part of our activities on hold. However, we were soon making every effort to ensure the continuity of services. This happened in stages, in accordance with what was possible or allowed. The safety of our organisation, our employees and our customers was paramount in that process. Last year, Fluvius was able to count and rely on the unconditional readiness and staunch professionalism of all its employees. I wish to give my sincere thanks and appreciation for that, and I look forward, together with you, in hope towards a world without coronavirus.
In the meantime, we didn’t stand still in 2020 in other areas either. We continued to build a common culture within our company. We also worked hard on the further integration of processes and IT systems. These shared efforts are enabling Fluvius to deliver constantly improving services at lower costs.
We are reinforcing this aim by clearly delineating our core tasks and clearly defining where our focus lies. We want to:
- be the multi-utility operator of public grids in the public domain, for electricity, natural gas, heat, public lighting, data and telecoms, sewerage and water
- manage the associated data platforms
- help the municipalities to realise their energy saving projects
- and reliably perform the public service obligations that the government expects of us.
As a specialist in the energy sector, Fluvius plays a crucial role in the transition to a sustainable energy mix. We will continue to take this responsibility
Fluvius has also drawn up a ‘vision memorandum’ on the network operation of the future. The leaders of the world have important choices to make, which will determine how our Earth will look in 30 years’ time. Europe is committed to becoming climate-neutral by 2050.
This target has an impact on the lives of everyone in Flanders. Zero emission essentially means a shift to a sustainable energy mix, in which electricity will become increasingly important. Smart meters are an indispensable instrument in this transition. As a specialist in the energy sector, Fluvius has a crucial role to play in all this, a responsibility which we must bear and which we will bear.
However, we will not be doing it alone: it’s not for nothing that ‘stronger together’ is one of the Fluvius values. We stand close beside the local authorities, with whom we work together on climate neutrality. We listen to their needs in relation to the climate targets and the transition to sustainable energy, and respond to them with appropriate initiatives and know-how. Examples include:
- switching public lighting to LEDs, an area in which we made decisive steps in 2020
- building heating networks
- continuing to expand the sewer system and stormwater management in order to cope with climate change
- future-proofing our energy networks via digitisation and automation
- enhancing our data net and thus responding to the growing demand for safe and reliable data traffic.
You will find the results in this annual report. I am convinced that Fluvius, together with all its partners and employees, will maintain this momentum in the years to come.
Chair of Board of Directors