Rising to the Challenges of Change

Is CLP prepared for the challenges of the energy transition? Are we moving fast enough to adapt to the pace of change? How are we coping with disruptive technology? Are we innovative enough?

These were just some of the questions more than 800 CLP Power employees asked at a Staff Communication Session in Hong Kong in January. The town hall meeting, titled A Data and Innovation-Driven Organisation, saw senior executives share their vision for the industry’s future and their ideas for business going forward.

Embracing innovation

CEO Richard Lancaster highlights the importance of innovation in driving our business forward

The session started with an overview by CEO Richard Lancaster of the company’s performance in 2017. He highlighted some of the major milestones such as the signing of a new Scheme of Control Agreement, progress of the construction of a new gas-fired generation unit at the Black Point Power Station in Hong Kong, and our first solar project in India. He also said a review of our Climate Vision 2050 has been completed with details to be announced soon.

Richard went on to talk about the innovation journey that we began more than a year ago and outlined some of its major initiatives. In particular, he said we had strengthened our data analytic capability with new recruitment and better utilisation of the group’s human resources as we strive to become a data-driven and innovative utility company.

Richard said our ability to adapt to change had always been one of CLP’s strengths and he was confident that it would continue to lead us to greater success. It was important to keep an open mind to change and combine it with our organisation’s core strengths, he said.

“Our approach has been to learn what we can, to bring people in, and to listen and think about how we do things, but not necessarily throw everything out that is good in our organisation,” Richard said. “We need to adapt and do things a little bit faster and differently, and to be open to new ideas, and to work cohesively.”

Seizing opportunities

Looking to the future, Richard said providing customers with a reliable supply of electricity would remain our core business, but we would need to do our jobs better and more efficiently to meet evolving expectations. Utility companies would have many more tools available in a digital age to deliver new products and services to customers, he said.

Through EnergyAustralia, CLP is focusing on the development of solar power and battery storage in Australia

He cited solar power and battery storage as two examples of the impact of technological advances on power companies. Greater battery storage combined with the declining cost of solar power mean a traditional, centralised store of electricity would no longer satisfy customers’ demands, and CLP would need to adopt new technology without necessarily replacing existing systems. For example, we could install more advanced systems overlaid on existing control systems to improve performance, he said.

“From an engineering point of view, it will be a much more interesting and exciting time with more sophisticated systems,” Richard said. “From a business point of view, it all comes down to how well we do our job, and how well we serve our customers. If we get that right, then I think it will be very successful, and as successful tomorrow as we are today and have been in the past.”

However, that potential success depended upon whether we could move faster and be more open-minded about risk, he cautioned.

“We are in an industry that has been doing things the same way for over 100 years,” he said. “We are moving into a different phase of our business now. We need to learn new skills and new ways of doing things, and part of that is doing things more quickly than we have in the past. We will all need to be doing things faster and more efficiently, and changing carefully but in a timely fashion.”

Meeting expectations

Companies around the world are embracing change and innovation that are relevant to business, CLP Power Managing Director TK Chiang explains

In his presentation, Managing Director of CLP Power TK Chiang used the example of Japanese carmaker Toyota to illustrate how companies around the world are embracing change and innovation to remain relevant.

Innovation did not only mean revolutionary ideas but included simpler, down-to-earth ideas, TK stressed. He encouraged staff to look into their daily routines and try to discover areas where efficiency could be enhanced and improvements made to create a more agile workforce.

Safety remains our first priority, CLP Power Chief Operating Officer Rick Truscott says

CLP Power Chief Operating Officer Rick Truscott focused on safety in his presentation. While CLP had a solid safety record, we needed to concentrate our efforts on eliminating hazards that could lead to serious injuries or fatalities. To achieve that, we should look at streamlining processes and improving our culture. Most importantly, we should all take a ‘see it, own it, fix it’ attitude to safety issues, Rick said.

Chief Corporate Development Officer Quince Chong emphasises the importance of trust and integrity in building the CLP brand

Chief Corporate Development Officer Quince Chong spoke on brand reputation and public trust. She cited a global survey which found that while overall public trust in governments, businesses, and the media had seen a downward trend, CLP had enjoyed a steady improvement over the past year in Hong Kong. Quince reminded the audience that a brand is a promise and said we must all be vigilant and take care to safeguard our integrity.