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.

For a total of over 30 years, Ebbe Berg worked with a free rein and an artistic spirit to decorate the walls of hydro power plants around Sweden.

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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Artwork in Odensvi switchgear
Artwork in Odensvi switchgear

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Berg in Kilforsen in 1954
Berg in Kilforsen in 1954

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The machine house in Kilforsen power plant, one of many power plants constructed after the Second World War
The machine house in Kilforsen power plant, one of many power plants constructed after the Second World War

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Berg photographed at a construction site (probably Kilforsen) in 1954
Berg photographed at a construction site (probably Kilforsen) in 1954

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Cross-section of Hojum station. Mural from 1959
Cross-section of Hojum station. Mural from 1959

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Part of the six-metre-wide mural in Hammarforsen power plant
Part of the six-metre-wide mural in Hammarforsen power plant

Videos

Solen Vattnet och Stjärnan (in Swedish)
Solen Vattnet och Stjärnan
Strömkarl (in Swedish)
Strömkarl
Presentation av Vattenfallkoncernen 1992 (in Swedish)
Presentation av Vattenfallkoncernen 1992
Vattenfalls GD-skifte 1985 (in Swedish)
Vattenfalls GD-skifte 1985
Med livet på en tråd (in Swedish)
Med livet på en tråd
Det hände 1956 (in Swedish)
Det hände 1956
Man har blivit van (in Swedish)
Man har blivit van
Kraftverksbyggare i Ritsem
Kraftverksbyggare i Ritsem
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