Arkossa is proud to assemble a team of competent professionals with a deep expertise in utilities industry. One of our key members Igor Podbelsek, International Commercial Director, is one of them.
We interviewed Igor to learn about his professional journey and his learnings about constantly developing energy sector.
How did you start your professional journey in the energy sector?
In the second half of the 1990s, as a young power engineer, I have started my career in the largest electric distribution company in Slovenia, Elektro Ljubljana.
My first challenges were related to the pilot testing of prepaid electronic meters and the first pilots of remote reading by using Power Line Communication from meter vendor Iskraemeco.
What was the main reason for adopting new technologies?
The main motive was cutting fixed company costs through the systematic reduction of commercial or non-technical part of distribution energy losses.
Logically, one part of the strategic long-term plan was the systematic and progressive introduction of the latest available energy metering technologies, especially electronic meters, in the first stage.
What kind of challenges did you face when being a utility?
When the energy market deregulation started in Slovenia in 2001, I was promoted to the head of energy metering department and the company internally separated energy supply – market oriented and infrastructure – regulated parts of the business.
With my heads of departments, and full support of top management, have drawn up an analysis and strategic plan of reorganization and optimization of the metering back office and filed processes and the energy flow supervision.
What caused commercial losses in the electrical power system at that time?
In 2003 were mostly accounted for by negative metrological errors, averaging over -3%, caused by large population of Ferraris meters which were in usage for more than 35 years by both business and household consumers.
The other major reason for the commercial energy losses were the technical failures of the measuring equipment used by the industrial, medium and small business segment consumers. The latter part was systematically undertaken by the establishment of revenue protection department, a dedicated independent department with experienced specialists for energy metering and a distribution network specialist for error detection at the measuring points.
How did the introduction of smart metering affect the company?
With different specialized departments we started to introduce besides smart metering also other smart grids segments step by step, such as demand management solutions through virtual power plant and initial charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
If systematic approaches and process management are used in such public organization and the right available technologies are chosen, this all results positively in the power distribution business in the long run much later.
Where did you pursue your career after leaving utilities?
For the last few years, I have been expanding my diverse past power distribution experience and working in various business forms with all key and different energy players, such as Energy Suppliers, DSOs, TSOs, Market Organizer, Energy Regulator and Energy Service Providers.
I have been sharing the knowledge of smart energy solutions as well helping to understand energy infrastructure end-users needs and expectations of active consumers and producers.
How did you end up from being a utility to helping utilities globally?
Three years ago, I found Arkossa, a very agile firm that nowadays connects the electricity distribution companies and the metering industry.
Working hand in hand with Arkossa’s smart metering specialists, we are investigating, training and solving many challenges by mass metering implementations in the real electrical distribution networks, focusing primarily on the challenges related to most cost-effective communication over the power lines, PLC communication.
Arkossa is daily improving the level of meter data accessibility, raising the added value of investing in advanced metering systems, as well as reducing many risks related by massive Rollouts when Utilities are focused only in fast meter replacement.
Our key added values are a wide experience, knowledge about the real environments and knowing the souls of our clients, the electricity distribution companies. Those who have trusted us are our true ambassadors.
An experienced manager in the power utility business and ICT industry. He is energy market expert and is currently responsible for Arkossa’s international business development and sales with focus on EMEA region.
Igor has more than 20 years of experience in the utility business with an emphasis on energy retail, distribution network operations, energy metering, demand side management, customer services, new solutions development and energy sector transformation issues.
Experienced in managing companies and business units, international business development, management consulting, business consulting, legislation changing and in entrepreneurship.
Nowadays his main mission is helping power utilities meet their digital business targets.