There can be no denying that 2020 was the year of COVID-19. From the outset in March, we had a crisis management organisation lined up. In no time, we arranged for thousands of people to work from home, we adjusted to the 1.5-metre social distancing rule and we adopted a new protocol titled 'anderswerkentijdenscorona' (working differently during the coronavirus crisis). Some activities, such as installing smart meters, had to be temporarily suspended, and several of our employees were assigned to other duties on a temporary basis. At the same time, all vital work continued to be carried out as normal. We are proud of how quickly we took action, enabling us to seamlessly absorb the abrupt transition to the intelligent lockdown. We remained focused on the safety needs of our customers, employees and suppliers. The corona pandemic showed the importance of being well prepared for any crises. This exceptional situation also demonstrated once again that our work is of vital importance – for society, for businesses and for residents. It goes without saying that we do everything possible to prevent outages. A power outage such as the one in August that left 33,000 households and businesses in The Hague without power for 8 hours is deeply regrettable and viewed by us as a low point.

There was much more to 2020, of course. The energy transition remains a major theme. The growing number of charging points and solar panels, among other things, in our service area are also clear evidence that the transition is gathering pace. Ensuring sufficient grid capacity and voltage quality are a priority for us. Our objective for the future is to maintain supply security in the face of the rising demand for energy. During 2020, great attention was therefore also paid to long-term financing. In dialogue with our shareholders, we are making steps to jointly address the issue of how the energy transition should be funded in the Netherlands. We are also in talks with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) about legislation and regulations and how to ensure they are tailored to the current situation. Of course, we also continuously review our own expenditure and how to curb it. In 2020, we succeeded once again in increasing our efficiency. The energy transition will remain a central theme in the coming years. We strongly believe that this is a collective endeavour. We are therefore proud that our area surveys allow us to make a significant contribution to the Regional Energy Strategy (RES). Together, we examine how best to shape the energy transition from one region to the next, enabling us to reach optimum solutions. A milestone in 2020 was our decision to join C-ARM, the shared platform of all grid managers to provide for the uniform delivery of measurement data to market parties. We also vastly improved safety performance in 2020 – something we aim to continue in the coming year.

Crucial craftsmanship

The theme of this Annual Report is 'crucial craftsmanship'. This stands for a vital sector but also for the professional work that is essential to provide everyone with energy – both now and in the future. This includes our engineers, IT, knowledge of energy and customer experience. No matter how digital we become, our work requires the human touch and is a true profession.

We hope for a revaluation of professional work – for the work we do in the sector. As an organisation, we have always had a special fondness for our In-house Training School. This is where we train school leavers and young immigrants to the Netherlands: young people who are starting to build a life for themselves and are willing to seize the opportunities Stedin can offer them. It is a meeting place for young and old. As such, it is more than just a vocational school – it is where we equip young people to build a life. That is crucial craftsmanship. In 2020, we awarded a diploma to the 1,500th student of the In-house Training School. That gives us great satisfaction.

In 2021, we will continue our efforts to become even more customer friendly and to further support the energy transition. This will also be the year in which we say goodbye to Marc van der Linden. He will be leaving us to embrace a new, as yet unknown adventure. Judith Koole stepped down as COO, although she will remain with Stedin Group for at least another year. We would like to thank her for her contributions, in particular in the field of customer satisfaction.

We hope that Stedin will continue to become 'our' company in 2021. By that, we mean that it should belong not just to 'us Stedin workers', but to all of us: residents in our service area, shareholders, businesses and public authorities. Only together can we remain vital.

Board of Management

Marc van der Linden (CEO)
Danny Benima (CFO)
David Peters (CTO)

The Board of Management of Stedin Group. From left to right: Marc van der Linden, Danny Benima and David Peters