In 2015, following the initiative of the respective Shareholders and strongly supported by the European Commission and European regulators who welcomed the further increase of harmonisation and efficiency across Europe, JAO (Joint Allocation Office) appeared as the natural response to the need for one single auction platform to buy cross-border capacity for electricity. Therefore, JAO is born from the merger of CASC (Capacity Allocation Service Company), for Western and south Europe and CAO (Central Allocation Office), for Central and Eastern Europe. This merger was thus synonym of presence across the whole Continent for the Company. As a matter of fact, JAO became a major trade platform on the European energy market. Its shareholders, who are Transmission System Operators (TSOs), own the Electricity grids in their respective countries; for example, RTE in France, CREOS in Luxembourg,...
JAO is a Joint Auction Office for European cross-border transmission capacity of electricity. With an annual turnover of 2 billion euros and a very specific activity, JAO is facing an increasing demand for IT services. To respond to its financial and operational challenges, JAO trusts the IT services provider EBRC.
A merger for a single energy market across Europe
A trustful partnership
Already collaborating with CASC since 2014, EBRC was the trustful partner for its ambitious merger with CAO. “Our collaboration with EBRC, our highly professional hosting partner, helped make the decision for keeping the offices in Luxembourg instead of Germany, for instance”, says Frederik Johnsen, COO at JAO. In the same state of mind, its new IT tool, which had to support the new requirements and bring together the ones from both previous companies according to their specific constraints, had to be hosted by EBRC. “Working with EBRC gave us some flexibility in defining our new requirements. It did not have to be a specific technology (Windows or Linux-based for instance). EBRC offers a wide scope of solutions”, explains Frederik Johnsen.
With twenty-nine people in the office, and soon thirty-four, JAO leans on EBRC professional IT teams and its full Managed Services. “With only a few IT persons in-house, our business generates 2 billion euros a year. We can run a small and very efficient operation internally because the necessary resources are outsourced to EBRC. EBRC Managed Services is something that really works”, adds Frederik Johnsen.
“EBRC is proud to count JAO as one of its strongest partner. This international client is continually pushing the boundaries of Service Level Management, on-line reporting, availability and PCI DSS Security. Thus, as true European believers, JAO is a beacon for a brilliant journey that we are excited to be a part of”, declares Ludovic Gilles, Head of Sales BeLux of EBRC.
The hip factor
JAO’s work is for the general public an invisible operation. Its activity has to be operational, flawlessly and constantly. A failure would impact many stakeholders on the energy market and they would immediately be put on the spotlight. “As per someone’s hip, as long as everything works smoothly, you never think about it. But as soon as something goes wrong, you notice it immediately”, smiles Frederik Johnsen.
Indeed, selling rights to transport electricity across Europe is a high-skilled and complex mechanism that requires reactivity and precise planning through a reliable IT system. The cross-border exchanges attain more than 3.504.000 terawatts/year and the actual value of the electricity crossing the borders reaches around three hundred million euros per day. It must be dealt carefully. “Because we operate 24/7, our IT system efficiency must be perfectly running 365 days a year. For us, it is vital to have a partner like EBRC who constantly guarantees high-level services.”
Agility and security to reach tomorrow’s objectives
Together, JAO and EBRC are reaching out for new capacities and new opportunities through European issues. Currently JAO’s aim is to cover all the remaining European borders. The auction office can count on EBRC scalability and “think out of the box” corporate culture to find solutions that size its growing business and its challenges. “EBRC can understand what we need and react on it quickly. The people working at EBRC go beyond their job description. They think out of the box, they find solutions that works for us, that are sized for us”, says Frederik Johnsen. By working in collaborative spirit, EBRC makes sure that everything runs flawlessly for JAO and its IT structure but also accompanies the auction office on its new projects.
As per the announcement from the European regulators, in October 2017, to name a European “Single Allocation Platform”, JAO’s objective is to become this one and only Single Allocation Platform. And the Company would be the natural choice considering that today it already covers a large part of Europe. For EBRC, this would mean new necessities and new responsibilities in terms of IT infrastructure. “In this scenario, we would have to scale up our operations having more borders and TSOs joining our platform”, predicts the COO.
To ensure a robust and sustainable environment for the company and since JAO is operating in a financial environment, though not being regulated by the Luxembourg financial regulator, JAO wants to ensure that its IT provider has all required skills in-house. Therefore the EBRC PSF Status is much valued.