Covid-19: “Avvenire” interviews Starace

Published on Friday, 10 April 2020

“We are focusing on what is essential to guarantee services by eliminating the superfluous. And we are ready to accelerate in the renewable energy sector”

– Francesco Starace, Enel CEO

This experience is “important” for Enel, which in recent weeks has also witnessed a drop in consumption of between 20% and 30%, and a consequent increase in domestic demand: “The system is working well, we are exchanging ten times more data than before. We have created a real-time system to monitor the fundamental operating parameters: energy consumption, number of customers, protection of power plants and network failures. These indicators tell us that Enel is working well, the electricity system has reacted to a major transformation in its functioning in all the countries where we operate”. As Starace pointed out, the Group has therefore focused on what is essential for guaranteeing services, by postponing non-urgent operations: “Some investments, such as the replacement of electricity meters, have been postponed. In this way we can maintain short-term results”.

 

In his interview, the CEO also focused on the possible changes in the energy sector: the drop in oil prices is leading many hydrocarbon companies to cut back on investments. Can the renewable energy sector benefit from this? “For some time now, we have decided to follow this path and, since this has proven to be a correct choice, as renewables are becoming increasingly competitive, we are accelerating on our path”, said Starace. According to the Enel CEO, the emergency should not affect the efforts that large companies are making in order to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “The Covid-19 emergency highlights the fact that we are all connected and interdependent. What happens in one country has an impact on the others, as in the case of this global pandemic: there is no better lesson on planetary sustainability”. Furthermore, “Once the crisis is over, I also believe that the financial world will follow sustainability more closely because it needs to find a solid support”.

 

Therefore, even if the emergency is negative, it can also teach us something: “More or less consciously, we are all taking an intensive digital course, and we are learning a lot about our work and the possibility of increasing efficiency with technology”. It is a “2 or 3 year step forward towards digital”, Francesco Starace pointed out. “Personally, I have also discovered that digital helps people listen more and pay more attention. Sometimes those who are more extroverted and speak louder prevail during face-to-face meetings, while digital mitigates these aspects and allows everyone to be heard”: listening is a value that we have to protect when things return to normal.

 

Enel editorial staff