Helsingin Energia became Helen at the beginning of the year. Before that, most people knew us as Helsingin Energia, and some called us Helen for short.
This is because our customer magazine, which carried the same name, had been sent to homes since the 1990s. From the communication point view, the situation was confusing to say the least.
We accepted the possible change of name with cautious optimism. We trusted that giving the brand a good shake-up would provide us with many new opportunities. Helen would be a step from locality towards a more international and commercial direction.
On the other hand, we were aware that the name of Helsingin Energia had also been very good. The recognisability and reputation of the name was held in high regard especially in the Helsinki region, and it was associated with many positive things, such as reliability, safety, sincerity and good service.
However, the decision to change the name was not ours: the matter was agreed on by the City Council in summer 2014 at the same time as it decided on the incorporation of the public utility. The incorporation was the result of the reformed Local Government Act, which stipulates that public utilities operating on the market must change their company form to a limited company.
After the decision, we rolled up our sleeves. We had six months. The forthcoming change required a lot of preparations and internal work, projects and sub-projects, decisions, co-ordination, and coffee.
A change of name is a risk to business operations. Especially in the energy sector, the established name of an operator and that way their reliability are the preconditions for success. Therefore, we must be vocal.
In the spring, we had a high-profile campaign with a brand new message: We offer the best city energy in the world.
The core message is that we produce electricity, heat and cooling with utmost efficiency in a single process. This matter is not new, but we want to send out the message with an even stronger definition than before.
What does the best city energy in the world mean exactly?
Efficiency. Energy efficiency in production and energy saving are the most effective ways of mitigating climate change. Combined heat and power generation minimises emissions that are harmful to health: the impact of energy production on the air quality in Finland is only a few per cent.
Solar energy. With district cooling, we utilise, e.g. the heat of properties heated by solar energy and refine it into district heat. We also build solar power plants, the energy of which is available to our customers through designated solar panels. In addition, we sell solar power systems.
Smart. All our customers have smart meters with remote reading, which means that they can monitor their energy consumption practically in real time. A smart grid will also enable demand-side management and acting as disturbance reserve in the future.
Storability. Storability of energy will grow in the future when more and more weather-dependent energy will be produced. We are already storing great volumes of heat and cold. We are also testing large-scale storage of electricity in Kalasatama.
Award-winning. Our energy solutions are valued highly throughout the world. We have won a number of international energy awards, such as the esteemed environmental prize Global District Energy Climate Award in the category of large systems.
A change is an opportunity, and this is a particularly fine one. We have an opportunity to make Helen even more renowned than Helsingin Energia was. This will not happen without taking risks, but wizardry is not required. We only need to make Helen’s image to reflect the reality.