5 minutes with…Benjamin, European Gas and Power Operations Manager

  • Could you tell us who you are and what is your role at Energy One?

Good day, I’m Benjamin Pucheu-Lalanne the European Gas and Power Operations Manager at Energy One. In fact I am managing the teams in Paris (FR) and Aalst (BE) who are responsible for the 24/7 operations for gas and power on behalf of our customers in Europe, as well as operators working in Adelaide (AUS) handling European night shifts.

These outsourced operations services range from nominations, matching follow-up, capacity bookings and asset scheduling to balancing portfolios and auction bidding across European gas and power grids. We provide these services to a wide range of clients, from energy producers to traders, either on a 24/7 basis, Out of Office hours, or tailor-made based on clients’ needs.

  • When did you start working for Energy One and how has your experience been so far?

I started working for Energy One in July 2022. It has been an interesting year because my background was mainly on the natural gas side, since I was working for a large French energy company before joining. Therefore, I had to learn a lot about power operations at the start. However, these operations are not so different from natural gas operations; I quickly saw the same logic behind them, so this learning process was quite smooth.

The main complexity was balancing the management of two teams who work in two different locations, so I travelled a lot to enable me to become familiar with both teams, their ways of working and the scope of operations they are handling for our clients. This made it a very interesting and diverse experience. It was also great to get to know the team; I have 13 people to manage so it was exciting to meet and work with all types of personalities, to discover their tips and tricks on how to handle the daily tasks, etc. I did shifts with them to better understand our wide range of operations, and all the challenges we face every day. It also allowed me to spot improvements we could make in productivity and safety for our clients.  Very interesting!

  • You mentioned shortly about your previous experience in the sector, can you elaborate a bit on your career before Energy One?

I have an engineering background focused on the energy sector. After graduating, I worked for several years for energy companies, with my longest tenure being at Engie, one of the largest energy companies in Europe. I worked there for more than six years, first in the back-office and then as a shift trader for three years to manage their natural gas portfolio in Europe.

  • What are the main projects you are working on? 

My day to day work is to make sure we run the operations perfectly for our customers. I want to avoid mistakes. I’m also focused on improving our way of working so the team can be more efficient and reduce the risk of human error as much as possible. The end goal for me is to make the life of our clients better and to give them peace of mind.

Next to my daily role in managing the team, I work on our long-term project to enable Energy One’s global ‘follow-the-sun’ operating model. This means I work with stakeholders to integrate our European teams with the operations desk in Australia. On top of that, I want to make sure the teams in Belgium and France work seamlessly together, so we increase redundancy and efficiency.

  • You mentioned ‘follow-the-sun’, what would you see as the biggest benefit of this new approach to outsourced operations?

The benefits are two-fold. First of all, there is a benefit for our own team. Since European night shifts are being handled in Australia most of the time, they do not have to work night shifts anymore. We already see that our people are more focused during the day and we reduce the risk of mistakes.

The benefit for our clients is that we can offer more services, since we have a full team during daily hours available at all times. During the day, we have our EU based teams fully staffed, and during the night there is a full team in Australia. This increases the pool of people doing operations, so we have several people available at any time, allowing us to offer more services in the future to our clients,

  • You recently became a father, congratulations! How do you keep a healthy work-life balance with a young child? 

For now it’s okay, because he is still quite young and my partner is still managing almost everything during the day. But as you know, it can be difficult when you are tired to balance your fatigue with the need to get your work done. However, we cannot complain and the baby is doing well, which is the most important thing!

The way I manage is by being well organised, so I always manage to do my work on time. On top of that, I feel very supported by the people at Energy One. They are flexible and allow me to manage my own agenda, as long as the work gets done. This allows me to book in meetings early in the day (with our Australian colleagues), or during lunchtime, etc. The management is flexible, so if I have to take an hour in the middle of the day to help out at home, that’s fine as long as I do my hours and manage myself well. This kind of trust and flexibility is important and makes for a good work-life balance at Energy One.

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