How Romania’s wind power market leader CEZ has modernized its receivables collection.
The CEZ Group relies on the expertise of EOS KSI. Thanks to the careful work of debt collection experts, Romania’s largest producer of green energy has achieved better results year after year.
Between the Danube and the Black Sea, the wind blows on average at a speed of 25 kilometers per hour. But that which causes farmers in the Dobrudja region of Romania problems – i.e. the strong, steady breeze which dries out their fields – makes a harvest of a different kind possible: this has been the home of Europe’s largest onshore wind farm since 2012. Operated by a Romanian subsidiary of the Czech CEZ Group, the project consists of 240 wind turbines covering 72 square kilometers. CEZ Vânzare poured 1.1 billion euros into this mammoth project, thereby becoming the largest investor in the Romanian energy market.
“We are the largest private producer of energy from renewable sources. In this way, we are helping to ensure that Romania complies with the EU directive, according to which 20 percent of energy consumption should come from renewable sources by 2020,” says Cornelia Szabo, the energy supplier’s Executive Director. With a capacity of 600 megawatts, the power plant now supplies more than one million households. When the wind turbines went live on the grid, it meant that about ten percent of the electricity in the country was being generated from renewable sources. In addition to the wind farm, CEZ operates hydro-electric power plants in Romania.
CEZ values transparency and digitization
In addition to green energy, CEZ Vânzare also sells conventional electricity and natural gas. “We supply about 1.3 million private customers and 50,000 small and medium-sized businesses,” says Szabo. The group is furthermore involved at municipal level. In Giurgiţa in the southwest of the country, for example, they modernized street lighting with energy-saving LEDs.
The SMART project is transforming CEZ into an automated, digitized company. One of the results of this is that between 2012 and 2016, the group reduced power outages by half. Customer satisfaction is also of key importance to the company. For CEZ, transparency is part of delivering good service. “We provide our customers with easy-to-understand information on for example billing data, payment methods and energy saving options,” says Szabo.
EOS uses experts with legal training
CEZ Vânzare expects their debt collection service provider to use the same approach in dealing with their customers. The company's receivables management has been in the hands of EOS KSI since 2009. “Our collaboration with CEZ Vânzare started with out-of-court receivables management. It was not long before we also took on debt collection cases that required legal action,” says Cristian Manea, head of the sales team at EOS KSI. The partners have been renewing their contracts every one to two years, following appropriate bidding procedures. EOS KSI has a team of debt collection specialists with legal backgrounds, legal advisers and lawyers working for CEZ Vânzare. They take care of the approximately 3,000 cases of out-of-court debt collection and 100 cases of debt collection involving legal action. “We usually recommend that our customers take legal action if out-of-court collection does not lead to achieving the objective. That is how we get the best results.”
More time for new business
“On average, we solve 30 percent of out-of-court debt collection cases within three months. Our success rate with debt collection involving legal action is on average 20 percent,” says Manea. “The results have been improving with every passing year,” Szabo also praises. “Thanks to the extensive experience and sensitive approach of EOS, these specialists achieve good results even with defaulting payers who are in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. The chances of success are usually very low in such cases,” says the Executive Director. “And at the end of the day, we can use every minute we don’t need to spend on receivables management to create new business. Overall, thanks to our partnership with EOS KSI, we are in a far better position when it comes to receivables management.”
Copyrights: Shutterstock, Andreea Alexandru/Picture Alliance