1 energy on the right track AnnuAl RepoRt 2008 Values at work
2 Contents Profile... 1 Key figures... 1 Forward by the chairman of the board of directors*... 2 Forward by the chairman of the management committee... 4 Prospects and challenges at a glance *... 8 Empathy Responsibility Our responsibility: safe operation of the Belgian electricity system Our responsibility: competitive tariffs Our responsibility: safe operation of the interconnected transmission system with neighbouring countries Our responsibility: efficient management of the transmission system infrastructure Our responsibility: respecting the environment and promoting sustainable development Entrepreneurship Integrity Corporate governance* Elia share - information to shareholders Important post-balance sheet events* Non-audit tasks carried out by the auditors Consolidated financial statements IFRS Notes to the consolidated financial statements Description of the risks and uncertainties facing the company* Regulatory framework and tariffs* Reconciliation shareholders equity net profit: Be GAAP-IFRS Joint auditors report on the consolidated financial statements Abbreviated statutory financial statements of Elia System Operator SA * These chapters form the annual report cf. art 119 of the Belgian company code
3 Profile Elia comprises two legal entities, Elia System Operator SA and Elia Asset SA, operating as a single economic entity under the generic name Elia. Together with its subsidiary Elia Engineering, it employs around 1,231 people. Elia is Belgium s electricity transmission system operator (TSO) under licences awarded to it by the country s federal government (for the 150 to 380 kv network) and those of its three regions (for the 30 to 70 kv grid). As TSO, Elia operates in line with its values of empathy, responsibility, entrepreneurship and integrity. Elia seeks to engage in open and transparent dialogue with its various stakeholders. This commitment applies to its customers, suppliers, shareholders, potential investors, authorities and the community at large, as well as to Group staff members. The company s number one duty is to ensure the reliable and safe transmission of electricity from production units in Belgium and Europe to grid users, namely distribution system operators and large industrial consumers. Given the central position of the Belgian grid in the Western European electricity system and Belgium s net import balance, Elia takes constant care to ensure safe management of international power flows (imports, exports and transits) on its grid. Elia also ensures that there is a constant balance between production and imports, on the one hand, and consumption and exports, on the other, within its control area. Since electrical energy is difficult to store, it must be generated as and when consumption requires it. To enable it to perform its tasks, Elia must maintain its various facilities, including lines, cables, transformers and dispatching centres. It develops and upgrades its grid using the latest tried-and-tested technologies. This approach incorporates a proactive respect for the environment and supports the sustainable development policies in place in Europe and in Belgium at both federal and regional level. Its unique and central position on the Belgian electricity market allows Elia to develop innovative services and mechanisms aimed at ensuring the effective operation and development of this market within continental Europe. Elia adheres strictly to statutory rules on corporate governance as well as the provisions of the Belgian Corporate Governance Code for listed companies. Elia has been listed on the regulated market of Euronext Brussels since June Key figures Consolidated IFRS results (in million, results per share in ) Revenue EBITDA (1) Profit after tax Earnings per share Dividend per share Number of employees (31/12) 1,231 1,232 1,227 1,221 1,238 Length of the grid in km (31/12) 8,412 8,406 8,367 8,344 8,276 (1) EBITDA = operating income - cost of goods and services - personnel costs - provisions- write-downs.
4 Ronnie Belmans, Chairman of the Board of Directors Foreword Foreword by the Chairman of the Board of Directors Energy was at the heart of European discussions in In January 2008, the European Commission announced its objectives for greenhouse-gas reduction, sustainable development and the opening of energy markets, thereby establishing a clear framework for discussions and targets for companies. Elia is leading the way in achieving the three x 20s 20% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions, 20% increase in energy efficiency and 20% of renewable energy by 2020 and in the forthcoming integration of the electricity markets of Germany, France and the Benelux, bearing in mind the impact of European and Belgian greenhouse-gas reduction initiatives amongst others. It should be remembered that a 20% renewable energy target for Belgium s total energy needs will mean generating around 34% of the electricity consumed in 2020 from renewable energy sources (hydro, biomass, wind, solar, etc). Elia has therefore committed to supporting the development of North Sea wind farms. Initiatives include signing a deal to finance connection of the first two wind farms off the Belgian coast and, further down the line, upgrading its very-high-voltage grid in the coastal region, in order to accommodate the 2,000 MW of offshore energy that the government ultimately wants to see generated. The cooperation agreement with German transmission system operator Vattenfall Europe Transmission, whose grid has an energy mix with a very high level of wind energy, testifies to Elia s forward-thinking approach in this area and its desire to acquire the expertise it will need to safely integrate the energy generated from big wind farms and other sources. Elia is also working closely with the relevant distribution system operators, authorities and regulatory bodies to examine the possibility of integrating a large number of small cogeneration units grouped together in various geographical areas. As a result, a number system connection projects to the transmission grid were added to the investment programme during the year. The exemplary building status conferred by the Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment (IBGE/BIM) on the new national control centre (due to open next year) and the investment ploughed into Elia s headquarters in Flanders in Merksem are further proof of Elia s commitment to sustainable development. As regards the independence of transmission activities from electricity producers and suppliers and historic shareholders, Elia can boast a corporate governance model that ensures a clear division of tasks between the Board of Directors and the Management Committee and makes the latter responsible for transmission system operation and preparing the development plans. The reduction of Electrabel s stake to 24.35%, and the increase in the municipalities stake, via Publi-T, to 33.01%, testifies to the same commitment on the part of shareholders. Elia has spearheaded many initiatives of national importance. These include installing phase shifting transformers on the north border in order to enhance safe operation of the grid at a time when cross-border flows are increasingly difficult to forecast, depending as they do on a range of factors including changes in wholesale prices and the amount of energy generated by wind farms across Europe; introducing intraday mechanisms with France; undertak- 2 Elia Annual Report 2008
5 ing interconnection projects with Britain and Germany; upgrading interconnections with neighbouring countries; developing pentalateral market coupling (highlighted by the decision of all stakeholders to adopt the Cosmos algorithm developed by Belpex); setting up CASC-CWE, a joint services company for all system operators in Central Western Europe; and founding Coreso, the first regional technical coordination centre, with French transmission system operator RTE. Elia has played a leading role in all of these projects and initiatives, which have been welcomed by market players. The appointment of Daniel Dobbeni as President of ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity), the new association of 42 European system operators from 34 countries, which will replace the six existing associations UCTE, ETSO, NORDEL, BALTSO, UKTSOA and ATSOI, is further evidence of Elia s credibility in the world of European TSOs. In the period ahead, which will inevitably be shaped by the recession, Elia will continue to carry out its tasks for the benefit of its customers and the community, taking advantage of the stable and encouraging regulatory and political context. The importance of power grids to sustainable development has been highlighted by President Barroso of the European Commission and President Obama in the United States. And quite rightly so, since they are key to an efficient, competitive and sustainable power supply for us all. Ronnie Belmans Chairman of the Board of Directors Elia Annual Report
6 Daniel Dobbeni, Chairman of the Management Committee Foreword Foreword by the Chairman of the Management Committee 2008 will be remembered for the contrast between the first three quarters, characterised amongst other things by high inflation linked to sustained demand in all sectors of the economy, and the last quarter, which was marked by a major economic and financial crisis that has left no country, industry or business unscathed. It was against this somewhat unusual backdrop that the Elia Group entered its first year of multi-annual incentive regulation ( ). Elia once again delivered excellent reliability of electricity supply to our industrial customers and the community at large. Our equipment replacement and preventive maintenance programmes and continuing staff training undoubtedly played a big part in this. The programme of investment in grid upgrades and development was delivered as promised, witness the three official inaugurations we organised in Wallonia, Brussels and Flanders, under the aegis of the relevant ministers. Actions to promote market development an increasingly important area, given the ongoing liberalisation of the internal market and the pressure on energy prices were both numerous and effective. The launch of the intraday market for transmission capacity with France is a prime example. The increase in volumes traded on the Belpex power exchange confirmed the added value of trilateral coupling in these three markets. Expansion of market coupling to Germany and Luxembourg bodes well for the integration of markets in Central Western Europe (CWE). Measures to connect decentralised production units, undertaken in partnership with the relevant distribution system operators, are one tangible way in which Elia supports sustainable development in Belgium s three regions. At an international level, coordination between European system operators was enhanced at various levels, with Elia acting as a driving force throughout. For example, our experts played a key role in establishing CASC-CWE, the joint services company for all transmission system operators in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The first joint capacity allocations on all internal borders within this region were carried out successfully only a few months after the company was launched. With our French counterpart RTE, we also set up Coreso, the first regional technical coordination centre aimed at enhancing the operational security of grids in Central Western Europe. The UK system operator National Grid will join Coreso in 2009, and German TSO Vattenfall Europe Transmission, with whom we have signed a cooperation agreement, has expressed its interest in joining. Internally, we have overhauled our organisational structure to ensure that we meet our efficiency and operational excellence targets. Our engineering company has been incorporated into a new subsidiary, Elia Engineering, whose remit will include expertise management and technical training for the whole Group. By adapting our mission statement and launching a highprofile advertising campaign, we have made clear our corporate objectives and enhanced our image. This is in line with the wishes of our partners, including customers, regulators, politicians and employees. 4 Elia Annual Report 2008
7 This year the first year of the multi-annual tariffs that offer our customers stable transmission prices over a fouryear period we met CREG s efficiency improvement target, to the benefit of all our customers, as well as the additional efficiency target expected by our shareholders. This required a greater-than-predicted effort from all concerned, since inflation turned out to be significantly higher than the Federal Planning Bureau forecasts that we used to determine our transmission tariffs, and we had to refinance our pension funds in response to the financial crisis. The economic and financial crisis also caused a substantial drop in the volumes of energy taken from our grid by industrial customers. This has led to a reduction in revenue which it will not be possible to pass on in our tariffs until the second regulatory four-year period. Although this will not affect Elia s regulated profit, it will require careful attention in order to minimise the increase in interest expenses something that will benefit our customers. To this end, in the last quarter of 2008 we took a number of measures aimed at further cutting costs and reviewing priorities for our investment programme. The purpose of these measures is to tailor grid development to changes in the industrial and business activities of our customers whilst continuing to meet our supply reliability and quality objectives. In so doing, we are seeking to limit the effects of the economic and financial crisis on our future tariffs while ensuring that we remain in a position to offer proactive support to businesses and the community when the economy starts to recover. This is the commitment of all Elia staff for 2009 and beyond. Daniel Dobbeni Chairman of the Management Committee Elia Annual Report
8 Prospects and challenges The coming year will be dominated by the internal energy market, sustainable development and a sensible approach to the economic and financial crisis that will enable us to nurture and support the upturn as soon as it arrives. CASC-CWE, the joint services company for system operators from the Central Western Europe region, will see its remit expanded to include monthly and daily auctions. Coreso, the regional technical cooperation centre set up by RTE and Elia, will become fully operational and will welcome new partners. ENTSO-E, the new association bringing together 42 TSOs from 34 countries in Europe, will begin operating and will undertake its first real actions in preparation for the 2011 implementation of the 3 rd package of directives on the internal energy market. 6 Elia Annual Report 2008
9 Elia will actively support these actions, while continuing its bilateral projects aimed at the future creation of new interconnections with the UK and Germany, and upgrading its interconnections with neighbouring countries, including France and Luxembourg. Commissioning of the phase shifting transformers installed in 2008 will enable the Belgian grid to be operated safely despite the increasing unpredictability of the power flows crossing the country. Particular attention will be paid to grid-upgrade projects in several parts of the country. For example, economic development of the port of Antwerp, the connection of offshore wind farms near the coast, the connection of cogeneration units in Flanders and the connection of new production units and onshore wind turbines in Wallonia will benefit from multiple major investments. Careful management of investment spending and costs, taking into account the anticipated effects of the recession, will be a priority in 2009, to ensure that Elia can offer proactive support to its customers and the community when the economy begins to recover. Elia Annual Report
10 2008 at a glance 0 6 / 0 2 / 0 8 Elia and National Grid propose to build a new interconnector between Belgium and the United Kingdom. 2 0 / 0 2 / 0 8 The number of intraday gates at the France-Belgium interconnection rises to / 0 5 / 0 8 Elia and Vattenfall Europe Transmission join forces to help boost security of supply, integrate renewable energy sources and develop the European market. 3 0 / 0 6 / 0 8 Connection of the Belwind offshore wind farm to the Elia grid is settled contractually. 0 3 / 1 0 / 0 8 The seven system operators of the Central Western Europe region, covering the Benelux countries, Germany and France, set up CASC-CWE (Capacity Allocation Service Company Central Western Europe) in Luxembourg. 8 Elia Annual Report 2008
11 Y e a r There were no significant post-balance sheet events. 0 3 / 0 4 / 0 8 The Belgian grid experiences a record import level of 3,500 MW between 11 a.m. and midday. 0 5 / 0 6 / 0 8 A year after the protocol agreement was signed, the partners in the Central Western Europe region mark an important step toward an integrated European electricity market. 0 5 / 0 9 / 0 8 RTE and Elia announce their intention to set up a coordination centre to enhance power security in Central Western Europe. 1 9 / 1 2 / system operators from 34 European countries found ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity). Daniel Dobbeni is elected President. Elia Annual Report
12 P.12 P.13 P.14 Our customers at the centre Sharing information transparently. Worker safety: a priority. of our concerns.
13 E M P AT H Y Be open and attentive to the feelings and opinions of others and demonstrate your desire to understand them while maintaining your own authenticity. P.16 P.17 P.19 The continuing training of staff throughout their career is a key component of Elia s strategy to ensure efficient and professional customer service. Elia organizes for secundary technical education different initiatives related to its jobs. Since its incorporation, Elia has been keen to give a social dimension to its security-of-supply and electricity-market service remit.
14 Empathy: E l i a e n g a g e s i n ongoing dialogue with its various stakeholders Its aim is to know and anticipate the needs and constraints of each group and take them into account in all its various activities. This preoccupation obviously applies within the company, with respect to all Group staff, as well as outside it, with respect to our customers, shareholders, potential investors, the authorities we work with, local residents living near project sites, students interested in our activities and many more. Our customers: at the centre of our concerns Elia wants to develop a relationship of trust with its customers, and the commercial department is key to that relationship. As the interface between the company and its customers, the commercial department must act as customers ambassadors within the company, drawing on an in-depth knowledge of the grid and electricity market as well as in the customer s working environment. There are also a number of specific schemes in place to help strengthen this dialogue between Elia and all electricity market players. Users Group: an exchange and discussion platform For example, our customers get the chance to have their say via the Users Group, a discussion platform bringing together representatives from all stakeholder groups including industrial customers, distribution system operators, producers, regulators and energy authorities. The Group focuses on discussing key issues, which are then examined in greater detail by working groups. These include new products, market tools and border capacity allocation. Customer Day: a unique opportunity to exchange views and information Each year, Elia organises an information day for all of its customers. The 2008 Customer Day attracted around 120 participants and addressed issues as varied as new products and product modifications (connection and access contracts, tel- 12 Elia Annual Report 2008
15 When we are applying for permits, we plan a lot of meetings with the municipal and regional authorities. Communication is extremely important and we need to be able to get our message across efficiently and assertively, while ensuring that our projects are followed up and develop well. Unfortunately, we aren t always given a warm welcome, but we always do our best to put forward our point of view and have it understood. Valérie Jadot, permits manager ecoms network, metering, etc.), grid management tools, the initial results of the use of phase shifters, the Belgian grid development plans and changes to them in the wake of renewable energy initiatives, international projects, and so on. In addition, the Customer Day provides an excellent networking opportunity for all involved. Elia also organised a session for business federations in The initiative went down very well with participants, who for professional reasons were keen to find out more about the services offered by Elia and developments in the Belgian and European electricity markets. Sharing information transparently Its central role at the heart of the energy market means that Elia holds a large amount of information, which it shares with energy market players in a wholly transparent way. From real-time information to historic data, Elia s website is a mine of information, and allows all stakeholders with an interest in the electricity market to access the data they need for their business activities. Sections on the website include consumption, production, imbalance adjustment, physical flows and market information on the use of interconnections, investment projects and unavailability of grid components. Publication of this information meets all the confidentiality requirements applying to the transmission system operator. Elia also publishes Elia News, a monthly e-newsletter summarising the most relevant information relating to its activities. Anyone interested in the newsletter can take out a subscription. Dialogue with local residents: a completely open process Whether in connection with its development, maintenance or emergency intervention projects, Elia takes care to inform residents living near to its facilities about what it is doing and how this may affect their daily lives, especially during works carried out by subcontractors or maintenance teams. Information meetings with the public and authorities, a hotline to regional technical secretariats in Brussels, Merksem and Namur, magnetic-field measurements carried out free of charge at the request of residents living near our facilities, round-the-clock website access at These are just a few of the ways Elia caters to individuals and authorities requiring information. All queries to the address receive an appropriate response, and the regional technical secretariats field around 50,000 questions each year. Elia Annual Report
16 From left to right, up and down: Daniel Dobbeni, Jacques Vandermeiren, Jan Gesquière, Markus Berger, Roel Goethals, Frank Vandenberghe and Hubert Lemmens Staff On 31 December 2008, the Group employed 1,231 people: 233 at Elia System Operator, 812 at Elia Asset and 186 at Elia Engineering. In 2008, Elia hired 115 people on permanent contracts (compared with 115 in 2007) and eight on fixedterm contracts (30 in 2007). New name for Elia s engineering subsidiary Bel Engineering changed its name to Elia Engineering on 3 November The rebranded company will take over expertise and technical training activities for the whole Elia Group and be responsible for investment, consultancy and commissioning projects. The name change dovetails nicely with Elia s initiatives throughout the year to raise its external profile and visibility. Worker safety The safety of our employees and contractors is a top priority. Our results show Elia to be one of the safest industrial companies in Belgium and also in Europe. This only goes to prove that our ongoing efforts to improve the intrinsic safety of our facilities are bearing fruit and that we must not waver in our efforts to improve our working methods and procedures. 120 safety audits were carried out in The aims were twofold: to check that safety procedures and instructions were properly understood and applied, and to ensure effective feedback. A series of findings from these audits have since resulted in specific improvements. To perpetuate, improve and safeguard these safety results over the long term, measures were taken to effect a lasting change in behaviour as regards the perception of risks involved in the complex technical activities associated with the transmission system operator s work. 14 Elia Annual Report 2008
17 Frequency rate Severity rate Elia Headquarters Service Area North Service Area South Elia Engineering Two safety weeks were organised within the company, one in May and one in September. These featured a variety of activities including: dedicated safety periods tailored to particular target groups within each department, during which participants looked in depth at the mechanisms responsible for accidents and identified risks for operational staff and those working in an office environment; films posted on the Elia intranet, inviting viewers to think about the causes of accidents and how they could be avoided; lunchtime meetings on the subject of office ergonomics; an information campaign, dealing with the manual handling of heavy loads; initiation classes in life-saving techniques and actions; a safety photo competition to raise awareness of this topic within the Group. Safety is also addressed at team meetings, as well as at special quarterly safety meetings held in the various maintenance service centres. Contractors A project completed in 2008 fleshed out and strengthened the criteria for selecting, excluding and suspending contractors on safety grounds. These criteria have been incorporated into the procurement process, while care has been taken to limit their impact on prices. Elia Group frequency and severity rates Frequency rate Severity rate Elia Annual Report
18 Recruitment Elia took on 123 new staff members in 2008 to meet the HR needs resulting from retirements and the creation of new positions associated with the liberalisation and internationalisation of the electricity market. Over a third of Elia s staff are young employees who joined the company after its incorporation. The proportion of employees with more than 10 years of seniority has fallen progressively from 68% in 2002 to 63% in 2008, while the proportion of women stands at around 17% of overall staff. Continual improvement of human capital The continuing training of staff throughout their career is a key component of Elia s strategy to ensure efficient and professional customer service. In addition to traditional on-the-job training, Elia offers a wide variety of training courses, ranging from all relevant technical knowledge to language courses, and including programmes to develop social and behavioural skills. Particular attention is paid to new employees. During their first year with Elia, they follow a dedicated training programme to facilitate their assimilation into the company. An introduction day and Lighting Day provide an opportunity to discover the company s activities and working environment, get to know one another and start to build up their professional network. For young executives, a programme called Campus Elia presents the company s various processes and other aspects. The programme rounds off with a business case study, based on a real situation, which the participants have to resolve in teams. The results are presented and discussed in the presence of the CEO and members of the Management Committee. Knowledge transfer Since November 2008, expertise and knowledge management for the various technical disciplines, together with the Education Centre, have been centralised at Elia Engineering. This will result in more efficient and consistent management of the various fields of strategic knowledge that the company must safeguard and maintain in order to develop its professional expertise in an ever-changing environment. Top Employer 2009 This year, as in 2007, Elia took part in the Top Employers survey organised by CRF, and won the coveted title of Top Employer The title, which is awarded to 42 Belgian companies, is a further boost to Elia s profile as a leading employer in the labour market. Partnerships with schools and universities Elia offers significant added value to universities and technical schools by allowing students to gain practical experience of the various disciplines associated with operating a transmission system. This is a very valuable learning experience for students and is an opportunity for Elia to attract young people to the company. Elia is developing an educational project aimed at technical schools, explaining the various aspects of high-voltage systems and transmission system operation. An educational brochure was produced and sent out to schools in Elia Annual Report 2008
19 Composition of Elia Group staff, 31 December 2008 Men Women Total Full-time equivalents Management Supervisory staff Employees Total 1, ,231 1, Technical Education Trophy The academic year saw Elia organise its first Technical Education Trophy. This is a competition aimed at students in their final year of technical secondary education, studying electricity, electrical engineering and electronics. The process began with a written test designed to select the 10 best classes in each language community. These classes then went head-to-head in 10 practical and theory tests, which were both exciting and stimulating. All the schools that took part found it a fascinating experience, and the educational aspect was highly appreciated by teachers. First prizes went to Institut Saint-Laurent in Herstal for the French Community and Technisch Instituut Scheppers in Herentals for the Flemish Community. The two winning teams were congratulated at the opening of the Education Centre on 7 May 2008, by a deputy of the French Community s Education Minister. Company visits Elia organises guided visits for interested groups, featuring a general presentation followed by a visit to a control centre and a high-voltage substation. These visits allow people to find out about the transmission system operator s activities. They usually take place at Elia s premises in the Brussels port area, which is also home to the Elia Education Centre. Elia Challenge Job fairs As in previous years, job fairs were a particularly useful aid to Elia s recruitment activities in Aside from the two main job fairs, Talentum in spring and Career Launch in autumn, Elia also attended the leading job events organised by universities and colleges. Presence in universities and colleges Elia specialists are regularly involved in educational activities and private initiatives, as well as speaking at conferences and seminars organised by universities and colleges. In 2008, Elia was among the companies that supported the Belgian BEST Engineering Competition (bebec), organised by the Board of European Students of Technology (BEST), in which teams of students studying various engineering disciplines at six Belgian universities pit their wits against one another. Elia also participated in the BEST Winter Course, aimed at budding engineers across Europe. Internships Elia operates an internship policy for final-year college and university students. Internships allow students to get to know the company and its working environment, and are often a springboard to subsequent employment with Elia. Each year, students from a number of technical schools have the chance to complete an end-of-school project on a subject relating to high-voltage, with assistance from Elia specialists. The programme includes a visit to a high-voltage substation and completion of a project on technologies used in high-voltage systems and Elia s activities. The school receives financial assistance from Elia as support. The projects are then presented in front of members of the Management Committee. Elia Annual Report
20 Opening of the Education Centre The Education Centre for technical training of maintenance staff was set up in several phases over Completion of the final stage commissioning of the Edison high-voltage substation, designed as a practical training tool for jobs in the high- and low-voltage field was inevitably followed by an official opening. Minister Evelyne Huytebroeck of the Brussels-Capital Region Government attended the academic session on 7 May On the same day, she unveiled a plaque commemorating the laying of the first stone of the building that will house the regional and national control centres as of next year. This building has been rated as exemplary in energy terms by the Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment (IBGE/BIM). Employer branding campaign Given the many challenges it faces at both Belgian and European level, it is vital that Elia enjoys a positive image among its various stakeholders. Elia must come across as a dynamic employer offering good future prospects if it is to attract the new staff it needs to maintain the efficiency and quality of its service. The success of our transmission grid improvement and expansion projects depends on winning the trust of local residents and public authorities. That trust is key to identifying the most appropriate solutions in a spirit of constructive dialogue. As a listed company, investor confidence is vital if Elia is to have the capital it needs to safeguard the sustainable development of its activities. As for the public, they need to be provided with clear and easyto-understand information about Elia s role as transmission system operator, at federal level and within Belgium s three regions. To this end, Elia conducted a public relations campaign targeting the general public in the daily press and on mainstream radio stations. Launched on 8 September 2008, it was rolled out in two parts. The central image of the campaign was a giant plug being transported, intended as a metaphor for the transmission of high-voltage electricity by Elia professionals 24 hours a day. This powerful and surprising image was, designed to arouse readers curiosity and encourage them to find out more about the company. Based on the positive results achieved, similar initiatives will be undertaken in future years. 18 Elia Annual Report 2008