Natural gas sales: Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG makes the leap to Schleswig-Holstein
“My energy from Raiffeisen”: This slogan has applied to the natural gas division for five years. In March 2011 Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG entered the market as a new player in the distribution of grid-bound energy. This is a step that has proven itself to be correct in every partnership.
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- Managing director Torsten Fischer is satisfied with the business results of Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG over the first five years.
“The supply of natural gas should appeal to existing and new customers, and be an addition to the already established energy business in the Raiffeisen Group,” responded Torsten Fischer, managing director of Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG. “We have managed to do so and been able to exploit our competitive advantage due to proximity to the customer.” The affiliated company to AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG has more than 50 partner companies in the Raiffeisen Group. “With the recent entry of Landwirtschaftlicher Ein- und Verkauf Ostholstein eG (LEV) we have now succeeded in taking a step into Schleswig-Holstein,” states Torsten Fischer. Coming from Lower Saxony in 2011, approximately one-third of cooperative partners are now based in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Further ones will follow,” says Fischer.
Natural gas sales was new territory
All founding members of Raiffeisen Energie and the partners that arrived later enjoy an excellent reputation in their home regions that has lasted for many years as well as a close connection to their customers, who are predominantly agricultural in nature. Natural gas sales was new territory for all participants and the opportunity only arose from the opening up of the energy market. “None of the partners would have been able to handle the tasks and requirements for this business sector on their own,” states Fischer. For this reason, the cooperative companies have come together and work together successfully, just like in many other segments. “Access to the natural gas sector would otherwise have remained impossible for the experienced energy traders within the Raiffeisen Group,” says the managing director. Natural gas is the most important energy source in the German heating market, with a 77 percent share. Consumption of natural gas in Germany rose by 5 percent in 2015 to approximately 863 billion kilowatt hours, according to available figures compared to the previous year.
After three years of positive and sustainable experience was gained within the natural gas sector, the decision was made at the beginning of 2014 to enter the electricity market. “It represents consistent development of our portfolio and rounds off our entry into the market as an energy services provider,” explains Fischer, before adding: “We use the same computer system and the same distribution channels in the background for both energy sources. This means we also save on costs within the gas sector.”
This path offers good opportunities
In the meantime, approximately 80 sales representatives have been trained by Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG in the main distribution area. They act as coordinators within their cooperatives and pass on their knowledge to colleagues so that customers have competent contact partners at every location. Those who want to act from the comfort of their own homes can call up prices online and place orders via an Internet portal. In addition, there is not as yet any targeted activity on the part of Raiffeisen Energie GmbH & Co. KG in terms of Internet sales using comparison portals as an example. Torsten Fischer: “We are not ruling out expansion of our sales activities via such a channel. We've established that our customers want personal contact. This closeness to the customer is our greatest triumph.” The success of the last five years makes this very clear. “We will stay on this path and see good opportunities to gradually improve our business over the next few years.”
More information about this topic is available from Torsten Fischer, tel. +49 511 8075-3670, email@example.com, www.rstrom.de, and www.rgas.de.