By Penny Theodorakopoulou,
Landis+Gyr S.A., a company with its headquarters in Switzerland, scheduled a press conference on March 14 to discuss the rationale behind its decision to file a legal challenge against DEDDIE/HEDNO’s decision to disqualify it from the second round of a tender for a lucrative one billion euro contract involving the installation of roughly 7.5 million smart meters across the country at the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, which took place on March 8. On the day of the press conference in Athens, the company provided an update on the next measures it intends to take in relation to the smart meters tender and shared information about its broader market strategy for Greece.
But before we move further onto the article, a few words in regard to what the company does, as well as DEDDIE/HEDNO’s role in Greece need to be mentioned.
Leading provider of smart electronic meters — and not only — for more than 125 years, Landis+Gyr serves residential, commercial, and industrial clients with solutions. The business has a proven track record in the sector and has worked on numerous high-profile projects all over the world. In Greece, there is only one manufactory site in Corinth but it employs over 800 workers, making it possible to export over 20 million electronic and gas smart meters all over Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as 20% on the meters in the USA, even though Mexico has a factory.
DEDDIE/HEDNO, on the other hand, is the main electrical distribution network operator in Greece and recently started a procurement competition for electronic smart meters. The competition is split into two phases, the first of which is centered on technical requirements and the second of which is centered on pricing. Under a 1.2 billion euro initiative, the winning company will provide and install smart meters all over Greece.
The fact that the company was not chosen to advance to the competition’s second round has significant ramifications for its potential for future success in Greece. To be precise, after being disqualified from the DEDDIE/HEDNO tender for the supply of “smart meters,” Landis+Gyr filed a preliminary appeal, but the Unified Public Procurement Authority rejected it because, according to Landis+Gyr, it “completed the company’s European Uniform Contract Document (EUCC) incorrectly, and did not declare in it not only the percentage of the contract that the company is going to subcontract but also the fact that between DEDDIE/HEDNO and Landis+Gyr S.A. (s.s. the Greek subsidiary), a subcontracting relationship arises”.
On March 28, Aristides Pappas, CEO of Landis+Gyr in Greece, and probably Werner Lieberherr, CEO of Landis+Gyr, are to be at the appeal at the Council of State, while also having claimed that, if there is no actual reason for Landis+Gyr not to move further to the DEDDIE/HEDNO competition, the company will take matters into its own hands, even “warning” to head over to the European Supreme Court to find a solution. In particular, Aristides Pappas stated in the press conference on March 14:
“Over the last decade, with strong confidence in the country, we have made significant investments in Corinth building a center of excellence in Greece, proudly investing in the future of our customers, our employees, and the country as a whole. In the last five years alone, we have invested over 60 million euros in our facilities in Corinth, making the Greek factory the largest in Europe and achieving excellent results for our customers and the national economy. Our disqualification from our country’s competition at the pre-qualification stage is a source of great disappointment to us and is, in our view, unjustified. As a result, it has sparked a series of internal debates, putting our operations in Corinth at risk and stalling further investment in already planned expansion plans for electricity and natural gas meter production, as well as the addition of a state-of-the-art electric vehicle charger manufacturing facility, a business sector with huge growth prospects”.
At that point, or perhaps even since the beginning of the article, you might be wondering what this DEDDIE/HEDNO competition I keep referring to is about. It is mentioned briefly above, but what it actually means is that DEDDIE/HEDNO wishes to change its current electronic meters, due to the fact that citizens of Greece have been having these electronic meters for decades. In other words, if Landis+Gyr’s industry in Corinth had won the competition (or even have the chance to do so), that would mean the production rate would raise quite a lot, meaning more job opportunities, as well as the financial turnover, would skyrocket. But the most important thing would be that, for the first time, Greece would not only produce electronic smart meters for countries abroad but also for its own benefit. However, that does not seem to be the case.
What does that mean for Landis+Gyr, though?
Nothing is certain yet, but there are four possible drawbacks to Landis+Gyr not qualifying for the second phase of the DEDDIE/HEDNO competition:
- It will not benefit the Greek economy, since the import-export balance will be hampered because the “smart” meters will not be produced in Greece.
- The Greek economy will not gain from investments over the long run. When they can be handled in this manner in a Greek tender, what sizable global corporation would think of moving their operations to a factory in Greece?
- In addition to that, a factory production model for European standards and the Greek Industry, which all governmental bodies acknowledge as the only way to expand the Greek economy in the medium and long terms:
- is prevented from making goods that will be utilized in Greece
- is in doubt, and its crucial position in the larger ecology surrounding the industrial facilities owned by the Landis+Gyr Company is rocked.
- Last but definitely not least, the local Corinth community will also be damaged because no new jobs will be created as a result of the expansion of the factory’s operations, and Landis+Gyr may decide not to make new investments in the Corinth factory, such as those for the production of electric vehicle chargers, which would result in the creation of new, well-paying, and skilled jobs.
To summarize, Landis+Gyr’s failure to advance to the competition’s second phase is a major blow for the company, but it is not the end of the road. Notwithstanding the company’s impressive track record in the sector, its future may be in grave danger as a result of this exclusion. We simply have to wait to see what the upcoming days will bring.
- New tender for smart meters also hits a snag, ekathimerini.com, Available here
- Landis+Gyr Supreme Court action for smart meters exit, energypress.eu, Available here
- Landis+Gyr: Αβάσιμος ο αποκλεισμός μας από την 2η φάση του διαγωνισμού για τους έξυπνους μετρητές – Ποιός κερδίζει αν μείνουμε εκτός, energypress.gr, Available here
- Κεραυνοί Landis+Gyr για τους ψηφιακούς μετρητές – Θα εξετάσουμε την παρουσία μας στην Ελλάδα – Είναι έργο του RRF και απαιτείται διαφάνεια, imerisia.gr, Available here
- «Πόλεμος» για τους έξυπνους μετρητές: Σε κίνδυνο διαγωνισμός 1,2 δισ., businessdaily.gr, Available here
- Landis+Gyr’s official homepage, landisgyr.com, Available here