Start / The company and the people

The company and the people

When Vattenfall was formed in 1909, it was an odd phenomenon. A state-owned utility that was to be run as a commercial company. But with the financial crisis in the early 1990s, Vattenfall was incorporated. Nevertheless, the state retained its influence over Vattenfall, as the company's sole owner.

Articles

Since its foundation Vattenfall has been governed by nine charasmatic profiles. All of them but one, has been an engineer. This article presents Vattenfall’s Director Generals (1909–1992) and CEOs (1992–).

Vattenfall is said to have been the world's first state-owned power producer. The journey to reach that point was lined with social debates and legal processes, and a large dose of entrepreneurship.

Vattenfall's evolution into a major European energy group has not always been plain sailing. The company has been historically successful in handling large fluctuations between periods of rapid expansion and times of administration.

A power system must be monitored and controlled around the clock. The production of electricity must correspond to consumption. Vattenfall must also ensure that its power plants are being exploited optimally. In order to achieve this, there is Power Control.

The issue of incorporation of Vattenfall was far from new when it appeared on the political agenda in 1990. Vattenfall and state commissions had been trying to convince its owners of the benefits since the 1920s. But it took a national economic crisis for the idea to become reality.

Since the start, Vattenfall has been a tool in the hands of its owner, the Swedish state: initially to promote the country's industrialisation, later as an element of industrial policy. Since the 1970s, Vattenfall has, to a varying extent, played an important role in the country's energy policy.

Swedish electricity supply worked very well and electricity production was efficient. At least, so thought Vattenfall and the other Swedish electricity producers prior to deregulation in 1996. But Swedish politicians wanted greater competition, and so the electricity market was deregulated. Early on Vattenfall realised it had to adapt.

The work environment was an important issue for Vattenfall from an early stage. Work was both dangerous and strenuous. For a long time, there was also a huge difference between the manual workers and office staff. They did not enjoy equal conditions until the 1970s.

Images

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Porjus power plant
Porjus power plant

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Lars G Josefsson
Lars G Josefsson

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Olide power plant
Olide power plant

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Stock certificate for the company that became Vattenfall AB
Stock certificate for the company that became Vattenfall AB

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Erik Grafström
Erik Grafström

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Trollhättan power plant
Trollhättan power plant

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Ringhals turbine
Ringhals turbine

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Mandatory helmets
Mandatory helmets

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