Together with its personnel and partners, EPV is creating a cleaner world. The importance of our work is evident every day, for example, in:

  • declining emissions
  • the growth of renewable energy
  • secure energy production

These developments are a concrete representation of the high-level skills and competence of our personnel.

EPV is one of the most noteworthy electricity transmitters in Finland

We transmit electricity from the grid and power plants to electricity distribution companies and large end-users of electricity. We are one of the most noteworthy Finnish distributers of electricity and we transmit electricity in:

  • Ostrobothnia
  • South Ostrobothnia
  • Iijoki
  • Kokkola
  • the Tornio region

EPV Teollisuusverkot Oy is a company owned by EPV Energy and Outokumpu and it owns the 400 kV and 110 kV transmission lines and the 400/11 kV high-voltage line transformer located in Tornio.

We continuously invest in our electricity grid infrastructure to ensure it is able to transmit more and more energy produced with wind power. Our investments and modernisations also contribute to the continuity of supply and safety of the power we provide. We take care of the maintenance of the infrastructure according to the life cycle of the equipment.

The electricity grid’s power control system is at the heart of our operations. The volume of data transfer has grown and will continue to grow in the future. Today, information mainly travels through optical fibres instead of copper. Optical fibres in turn run from one substation to another. Well-functioning and sufficient data transfer enables the efficient and continuous supervision and operation of the system.

Because a well-functioning energy distribution and transmission network is critical for today’s society, the company is always prepared for various crises in the construction and maintenance of its network infrastructure. Detailed instructions have been compiled beforehand for potential major outages.

The Energy Authority has commissioned Finland’s transmission system operator Fingrid to specify operators that own substations capable of transmitting electricity from production plants with more than 30 MW of power to the grid and appoint them as network companies in accordance with the Emergency and Restoration Network Code.

EPV Alueverkko Oy has been specified as one such significant network company and, as the EU Regulation states, the capacity of the substations in question has to be assured for at least 24 hours as regards internal consumption and voice and data communications. For this reason, we are improving our substations’ reliability of operation to ensure that the recovery of the electricity system can be secured in fault situations. Conformance must be ready by December 2022.

In 2020, we implemented plenty of the required precautionary measures as regards communications, including building optical ground wire connections (OPGW) into transmission lines’ overhead earth wires. Optical ground wires have already been installed in almost all the important substations and their commissioning is proceeding according to plan.

Securing the networks will also further improve cyber security. The work to secure all our networks progressed well in 2020, but there is still some work to do to ensure we meet the regulatory requirements by 2022.

A responsible employer invests in their personnel

EPV invests in its employees’:

  • well-being
  • occupational safety
  • professional development

Employee surveys show that EPV is an inspiring place to work. Our personnel consist of professionals and experts in their fields who have diverse experience of the energy sector spanning more than four decades. Our competent and skilled employees are our most important resource.

It is EPV’s responsibility to care for its employees in a number of different ways:

  • We invest in developing their skills
  • We train managers and supervisors
  • We encourage all our employees to take good care of their health

The goal is to ensure that our employees are highly committed, motivated and engaged in continuous development. We guarantee a healthy and safe working environment, while nurturing a culture of doing things together.

Safety at work 2020

EPV Energy strives to take exemplary care of occupational safety matters. The company’s goal is to build a working environment in which occupational accidents do not occur.

Occupational safety was monitored through the usual methods in 2020 in all of the Group’s companies, including all external personnel working with EPV. Safety is monitored in several different categories:

  • occupational accidents
  • serious occupational accidents
  • accidents on the way to and from work
  • dangerous situations
  • safety observations

We calculate the frequency rate of occupational accidents, and the result shows the number of accidents per million hours worked, which at EPV includes accidents on the way to and from work. In calculating the statistics, service providers working with EPV have also been taken into account.

  • number of accidents 8 (4 in 2019)
  • accident frequency rate 10.44 (8.59 in 2019)

In 2020, EPV’s own staff suffered three accidents. One of these was a serious occupational accident (8 days’ absence from work) and one occupational accident (2 days’ absence from work). At EPV, accidents include all situations that have required first aid or where people have had pain, such as a cut on the hand or falling over on the way to work. We include more minor incidents in our calculation of accident frequency rate than the rest of the sector does on average. We have set the bar for responsibility extremely high for occupational safety. Our wide reporting of accidents also ensures that even the smallest of accidents are logged and the necessary measures are taken at the workplace to ensure it does not happen again. According to Finnish Energy’s instructions for calculating accidents, EPV’s accident frequency rate was 4.64. We cannot be satisfied with our accident figure when our goal is 0 accidents. That is why we intend to further improve our practices in 2021 as regards occupational safety.

EPV developed the skills of its personnel

The emphasis for EPV’s personnel development in 2020 continued along the same lines as the previous year, including the following focuses:

  • continual development of supervisory and managerial skills
  • continual development of social interaction skills
  • development of internal communications
  • development of online tools and their wide utilisation in developing the skills of our personnel

As a responsible operator, it is of paramount importance to make sure that we maintain top-level cyber security skills. In 2020, EPV Energy continued to offer data security and data protection training on a regular basis for all its employees, as in the previous year.

Increasing agility in personnel processes

In early 2020, the EPV Group decided to acquire a personnel data processing system and launched a project to commission it. Intended for use by the entire EPV Group, this data system for HR management combines the following processes into one consistent whole:

  • personnel management
  • personnel development
  • recruitment

The system encompasses the personnel management processes of an employment relationship’s entire life cycle in real time.

The specification and commissioning project of this HR system was one of EPV Energy’s main goals for 2020. Thanks to excellent teamwork, the project was implemented efficiently and on schedule, despite the fact that work towards it had to be entirely performed via remote access due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of the system commissioning project was to ensure that personnel data is always up to date and can be added easily, while taking into account the confidential nature of the information.

The personnel data system will allow all members of the staff access to their own information and provide supervisors and managers support in their operative management duties and a high-quality tool for dealing with HR matters more efficiently. The system will become available for use by all personnel after comprehensive training during the first half of 2021.

Systematic efforts to improve well-being

EPV Energy takes a proactive approach to occupational health and well-being. The company regularly inquires into the state of the working environment and community with various surveys and studies and develops its personnel policy and workplace atmosphere based on the results from these.

Supervisors and workers also regularly hold performance appraisals where they discuss matters relating to well-being and coping at work. EPV Energy sees well-being at work as a broad concept that includes both mental and physical well-being.

Job satisfaction is monitored regularly with Group-wide job satisfaction surveys. The job satisfaction survey is taken each year by the company’s whole staff. Response rates to the survey have been excellent.

The 2020 survey was completed by 87 per cent of staff. The overall result of the survey showed excellent job satisfaction (4.20 on a scale of 1 to 5), as in previous EPV Group’s staff surveys. Of all the responses given, 82 per cent were positive (4 and 5) and 3 per cent (1 and 2) were unfavourable.

The respondents also felt that their energy in their work was strong (4.29). ‘Energy’ measures the respondents’ experience of their work on an emotional level – how energetic and enthusiastic they feel about it and whether they feel their work is meaningful.

The results were higher all down the line than the average in other energy sector organisations.

As areas for improvement, the respondents mentioned, for example, giving feedback and taking care of good ergonomics, which has been more challenging during the coronavirus pandemic.

EPV Energy took precautionary measures to prevent coronavirus infections and to secure supply of electricity

2020 was an exceptional year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preparing for various exceptional circumstances is a normal way for EPV Energy to operate. Early in the year, the company raised its preparedness to deal with COVID-19. Crucial for society’s security of supply, electricity and heating are a critical part of households’ and companies’ everyday lives, and their smooth functioning must be ensured in any circumstances.

In 2020, EPV Energy’s Group companies made careful provisions for potential coronavirus infections, taking various types of action to prevent them. The company began providing internal instructions for its personnel at the end of February and from mid-March these included, for example:

  • avoiding travel
  • working from home whenever possible
  • restricting visitors’ access to workspaces
  • cutting down events of different types
  • shifting into an electronic operating environment

In power plants and wind power stations, access route restrictions were put in place to ensure that people only met in specific areas in a safe way and to reduce unnecessary contact with others. We also put, for example, reserve control room facilities into service.

Close cooperation with various stakeholder groups continued and broadened in 2020

We work closely together with our stakeholder groups in many matters concerning sustainable development, and we maintain an active dialogue. Stakeholder work is a significant part of EPV’s responsibility efforts. The company engages in continuous and open dialogue with its stakeholders and this dialogue is also put to good use in developing our operations. Our most important stakeholders are:

  • shareholders
  • employees
  • local business owners and partners
  • landowners
  • decision-makers
  • investors
  • public authorities
  • educational establishments
  • local communities

EPV is involved in influencing decision-making

Good and well-functioning collaboration with decision-makers and public authorities helps to streamline projects. As a member of various organisations, we are involved in influencing decision-making. Continuity of supply requires the maintenance of a diverse range of energy generation activities. EPV Energy produces electricity in Finland in a diverse way using several different energy sources and production methods. This wide range of energy generation cannot be built or managed without effective collaboration with public authorities. Energy generation projects take a long time to complete. Municipal decision-makers and authorities play a crucial role in this process, from licencing processes to land-use planning and the assessment of environmental effects. Of course, communications with them continue throughout the life cycle of energy generation projects.

EPV prepares for electricity trade in accordance with the European regulations on electricity market integration

According to the European electricity market integration regulations, electricity trade is shifting from the current one-hour resolution to becoming faster. A 15 minute imbalance settlement period (ISP) will be adopted in the spring of 2023.

EPV’s experts are involved in several committees engaged in lobbying for the sector. EPV is:

  • chair of Finnish Energy’s Electricity Market Committee and member of Fingrid’s Electricity Market Committee
  • member of the Nordic imbalance settlement service company eSett Oy’s Customer Committee and of Finnish Energy’s Electricity Measurement and Imbalance Settlement Working Group, acting as a balance responsible party in each
  • member of the national NBM working group led by Fingrid under Finnish Energy’s mandate, representing the viewpoint of wind power operators in matters relating to energy trade

Actively involved in various organisations within the sector

EPV Energy is involved in the activities of the key organisations of the energy sector, such as Finnish Energy, the Finnish Wind Power Association and the Bioenergy Association of Finland. By participating in the activities of noteworthy organisations in the sector, we are involved in public debate and able to have an influence. By participating actively, we always stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the sector and the operating environment.

We collaborate with local companies

Outside our own organisation, we provide work for hundreds of companies every year. We engage in close and open cooperation with many different stakeholder groups. In addition to our own staff, we provide work for hundreds of business owners and professionals annually. After years of active collaboration, we have excellent networks of expert partners in place for different energy production methods. Local networks of subcontractors and partners are the lifeblood of our operations.

Getting local contractors involved in our projects

Local companies are important partners for EPV, for example, in electricity transmission, wood procurement, power plants, peat production and the construction of wind power plants.

Close cooperation with landowners

We cooperate closely with landowners throughout the life cycle of the wind farm, which may be up to 50 years. All in all, EPV’s wind farms are located on land owned by a total of approximately 600 landowners. Naturally, taking this large and important group of stakeholders into account is crucial for the entire EPV organisation. EPV collaborates with landowners, for example, in connection with peat production and wind farm construction.

We also cooperate closely with landowners when purchasing biofuel. We rent peat production areas from them and engage in timber trade with them. Timber harvesting is also always planned and agreed on with the landowner. After harvesting, we always discuss together how smoothly the harvest went and other details.

Landowners are involved in the maintenance of the electricity grid and in electricity transmission projects. When we begin planning new transmission lines, we contact landowners by sending them a letter with information about our plans. After general planning has progressed to the contract negotiation stage, we meet each landowner personally when necessary. During the meeting, we provide the landowner more details about the locations of the pylons for the transmission line and why we have chosen the locations. At this stage, the landowner may be able to have a say on the locations. At the beginning of the construction stage, the contractor will contact the landowners by letter. The letter will provide more detailed contact information and a schedule.

For example in 2020, we began extensive felling and sawing of trees in the border zone of a 110 kV transmission line in Ostrobothnia and South Ostrobothnia. We continuously improve our electricity network’s security of supply by ensuring it can better withstand abnormal weather conditions. That is why we commission our partners to saw off the tops of trees that pose a threat to system security in the border zone of the transmission lines. The sawing is carried out between October 2020 and May 2021. The work is performed as helicopter sawing and regular felling. It involves sawing off the part of the tree top that poses a threat to operational security. In practice, this means sawing off 1 to 5 metres from the top of overheight trees. Our goal is to achieve a situation where the trees do not have to be cut again for the next 10–15 years.