26 Oct A forward-thinking energy company
Founded more than 150 years ago, Pražská Plynárenská has gone on to become the second largest gas supplier in the Czech Republic in regard to volume and third largest by customer base. Playing a significant role in the European nation’s energy sector, the company has a commendable track record in ensuring the seamless supply of natural gas to nearly 422,000 customers in Prague and its adjoining areas.
Inextricably linked with the capital city of Prague, where the roots of the gas industry can be traced all the way back to 1847, Pražská Plynárenská provides services to customers throughout the Czech Republic and has taken specific measures to ensure an uninterrupted service.
“Historically gas was not used for heating but for lighting and the first streetlights in Prague used our gas,” reveals Martin Pacovský, former chairman of the board of directors of Pražská Plynárenská. “That was around 160 years ago and we have had a history of reliable service since then. For us, being reliable and safe is an absolute must and it is embedded in our DNA. During the global energy crisis last year we presented different plans to the city of Prague and there were several solutions in place if no gas was available. I think we were able to do quite a good job.”
Instrumental to the Pražská Plynárenská’s long success has been its willingness to modernize operations and leverage emerging technology to enhance efficiency, elevate customer experiences and integrate sustainable practices. This is proving to be particularly important as the company looks to transition in the near future from being a gas supplier to an energy solution supplier.
“Historically, all the big utility companies simply sold electricity or gas. Now, we want to understand the complex needs of our customers so it’s more about installing photovoltaic panels, advising about the best ways to cut consumption levels and how to operate heaters and boilers,” explains Pacovský. “We want to bring solutions for our customers so that we are not just trying to sell energy but we are helping people to save energy and even potentially offer carbon neutral solutions. We feel that more and more citizens in the country are climate aware and they want green energy. We feel that this is something we can offer to them.”
Pražská Plynárenská certainly has a strong understanding when it comes to its customers. Having existed since the late 1800s, the company has always been committed to working with the community, especially within Prague, to ensure the best possible service is available. “We are owned by the city of Prague and we have always been here to serve the city and its citizens,” adds Pacovský. “This has led to us collaborating closely with schools, nurseries, nursing homes and hospitals to ensure they have the best possible service. We want to be as connected as possible to the city of Prague which is why we have developed a joint project with the Ministry of Industry to explore the idea of generating green energy from the sewage system. We are also exploring the possibility of utilizing LNG and recently traveled to the US to discuss the idea of signing a long-term contract with one of the many US suppliers.”
One of the clear goals of Pražská Plynárenská is to become a more environmentally conscious company that fosters a greener approach to its operations. This has led to the implementation of sustainable practices, which Pacovský believes can bring about significant change not just within the company, but also help with Prague’s overall efforts to become a carbon-light economy.
“There are several areas that we are trying to develop. Naturally, one area we are looking at is photovoltaic power plants and where these can be implemented within Prague and its surrounding areas,” he states. “Prague is quite an old city so we want to make sure we build our business around providing photovoltaic solutions in protected areas and on heritage-protected buildings. However, we will need special approval from the city itself. We are also exploring green solutions in regard to heating. We are operating several cogeneration heating units that help us to generate heat and electricity at the same time. This is offered to schools and municipalities. Ultimately, I see the future of the company is that we will provide green heating solutions to the citizens of Prague. Whether that is through solar power or by utilizing the capital’s biggest natural resource and finding a way to heat the water from the river. We want to find smart and flexible energy solutions. We have a track record of moving with the times and I would like to think that we can confidently enter this new era of carbon-neutral business solutions. As a company, it is important that we are flexible and modern.”