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We'll Be The Playmaker In Customer Experience

Kıvanç Zaimler, the new CEO of Enerjisa who we met to discuss the liberalization process in the energy market and Enerjisa's new term strategies says "Our goal is to carry the high quality services provided in the GSM and the banking sectors, to the energy sector as well"... Zaimler states that they have increased their brand awareness from 47 percent to 83 percent through a campaign with the motto "Turkey's Energy" and expresses their intention to be the playmaker brand concerning customer experience within the market.

Interview: Günseli Özen Ocakoğlu & Ferruh Altun

If you wish, let's start with a brief tour within the horizons of energy sector. What is happening in the energy sector recently?

When we look at the value chain of the energy sector, there are processes such as the generation of electricity at power plants with the supply of primary fuels, its transmission, distribution and sales. And nowadays a stock exchange of electricity has emerged. Ultimate aim of the government in developing policies after 2000's, in establishing of EMRA, and in constituting new laws and regulations, was to bring along the liberalization to the sector. One of the objectives was also to provide secure energy supply and to provide productivity at the channels reaching out the consumers. In realizing all these, the ingenuity of the private sector was based on. With this objective, many privatization actions were taken to enable the liberalization.

What is the current status of the privatization process in the electricity industry?

Considering the distribution leg, Turkey was divided into 21 regions and all companies were privatized. Later, the privatization of the retail companies have been started and today there are more than 200 retail sales companies. When you consider this number, you would expect a severe competition but as the full liberalization is not ensured yet, the competition has not reached up to that point for the time being. For example, Turkey is widely using natural gas in electricity generation and for a serious competition natural gas fields should also be liberalized through privatizations. There are 220 suppliers but the consumers are not allowed to choose their electricity suppliers themselves. Today, part of the consumers are positioned as "Free Consumers". Technically, the consumers who have an electricity consumption of 3 thousand 600 kilowatt hours annually, meaning the consumers whose monthly bill is over TL 125 are considered as "Free Consumers". That's why, a significant number of subscribers are still unable to choose their electricity suppliers themselves.

Today the State still announces a tariff and consumers use electricity out of that tariff. How does this affect competition in the market?

This is one of the obstacles on the way to the development of a liberal market consideration. To enable competition, all consumers are supposed to choose their electricity suppliers themselves and the announcement of the tariffs by the government should be eliminated. In case these are ensured, we may create special tariffs to certain consumer groups and can even establish personalized tariffs as done in the GSM sector. For instance, under such circumstances, we can prepare a tariff for a consumer "who goes home just in the evenings and spends the whole summer in his summer house" in line with his needs.

"Though the consumers whose monthly bills are over TL 125 are classified as 'free consumers', most of the subscribers are not allowed to choose their electricity suppliers themselves."

The tariffs announced by the Government aim to protect consumers. If these tariffs are eliminated, wouldn't the consumers suffer from this?

Elimination of the standard tariffs will create a competition and competition always results on the favor of the consumer. Until the industry finds itself and settles down, some ups and downs may be experienced but in the end, the consumers win.

What kind of a structure does the electricity generation leg have?

Private sector companies construct new power plants rapidly but realizes the generation operations at the "Electricity Generation Companies" established by the state's "build-operate-transfer" model. The power plants established by the state many years ago entails costly generation. As for the newly established high-tech power plants, generation costs are lower. And there are wind power generating plants in which the costs are much lower. When there is demand for electricity, the one with the lowest cost realizes the sales first. Then the ones with higher costs step in. However, if the state intervenes to this process or if it does not pave the way for or industry players to operate as prudent traders, "Electricity Exchange Market" would be adversely affected. Our power plants make generation operations according to the political conditions rather than economic and competitive conditions. In fact, the Ministry and EMRA are thoroughly aware of what is happening and they know the steps to be taken.

Then, why does the State wait for taking this steps?

This is somewhat related to the improvement of the conditions and players in the market. For example, to establish a "Electricity Exchange Market", a company called the Energy Market Operations Inc. (EPİAŞ) was established but it still does not have an infrastructure. When it turns out to be a free market, all legs should work under free market conditions so that the process can progress. As the privatization process progresses, technology investments in the industry will increase which also means an increase in productivity. Turkey has created a strategic road map on electricity and we are now in a transition period. This process can also have some delays. We were expecting the free consumer limit to be reset at the beginning of 2016 but it did not happen. Now we expect it to be realized in 2017. There are justified reasons of this delay. However, this delay is to the detriment of consumers ...

The private sector has invested $ 80 billion in the electricity market. $ 11 billion of this investment belong to us. Investors realize such significant investments considering the confidence in the energy markets, rapidly growing young population of the country and the growing economy. We're behind the countries in Europe in terms of market size, which means that the potential is high. With the presence of a state supporting liberalization, investments would increase. However, when the expected steps delay, investors have serious problems as well.

"Private sector has invested $ 80 billion in the electricity market. $ 11 billion of this investment belong to us."

What are you doing as Enerjisa under these market conditions?

Enerjisa's vision is to maintain and reinforce its leadership to become a pioneer in the industry. We operate in all branches of the industry. We have 9 thousand employees and a turnover of TL 12 billion. We have a highly balanced portfolio in generation. 65 percent of our generation covers renewable and indigenous resources. Our Tufanbeyli Thermal Santral is the biggest power plant of Turkey established by domestic resources by private sector. At the end of this year, one natural gas and two hydroelectric power plants will be completed and we will get more of our capacity to perform 4 percent of electricity generation in Turkey. Today we are already the largest private sector generation company. In the coming term, we will head towards renewable and indigenous resources of generation. In particular, we have serious preparations in terms of sales operations and when real competition conditions emerge, we will be a company that touches customers more. We want to create a sales structure providing personalized services. Our goal is to provide a service exceeding consumer's expectations. We would like to carry the high quality services provided in the GSM and the banking sectors to the energy sector as well.


You have announced a new positioning of Enerjisa brand by a very emotional campaign. How was the process of re-positioning realized?

Within the refocusing process of the brand, firstly the expectations of the Turkish citizens from an ideal electrical energy company were analyzed. Then the aspects to which the customers would pay attention were considered during their selection of an electrical energy company. As a result of all the analysis we carried out, we discovered that the consumers would like to trust an ideal electric power company and they seek for a brand providing quality and differentiated services, especially offering personalized and digital services. As a result, we decided to move Enerjisa to a position where we will invest in future technologies and act as a playmaker in customer experience beyond supplying electrical energy. Structured with this target, the most important face and the carrier image of new Enerjisa brand, emerged along with our yellow logo. This logo was designed as a reflection of Enerjisa's new brand strategy which is inspired by the largest energy source that is the sun, and reflecting the warm, sincere, friendly, trustworthy feeling it gives, on the other hand with a structure connotating a digital button symbol.

What kind of feedbacks did the campaign you have realized through "Energy of Turkey" motto and "Requires Energy" statement, receive?

With the latest communication campaign, Enerjisa was the first company to communicate to that extent in the electricity market. Following the campaign, Enerjisa brand awareness increased up to 83 percent from 47 percent exceeding the expectations.


"The most important thing we managed recently, is to work on improving customer experience. We consider all customer complaints we receive as an opportunity to create a loyal customer. Our consumers who visited power administration to pay their bills beforehand, go to the customer services center today, and these centers consist of many modern shops. Thay can make their payments via internet and mobile now. We have created very competent sales and marketing teams. Confidence in Sabancı brand is the most significant advantage of us. We have a very open structure for innovation within our organization. We evaluate employee recommendations within Startup logic and support them. This creates an awesome dynamism within the organization."