Close this search box.

A perfectly normal week at work

At the beginning of the year, Asta Sihvonen-Punkka stepped up from the positions of Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President of Electricity Markets to become the CEO of Fingrid. Her new work involves familiar topics, as well as learning new things and having to give up others.

Monday: meetings set the pace for the day

Asta Sihvonen-Punkka arrives at Fingrid’s headquarters well before 8 o’clock. It is good to have a little time in the morning to check emails and get oriented for the day. There are many meetings ahead, as usual.

“We have a matrix organisation with a steering group for all the key processes – or perspectives, as we call them. As CEO, I am involved in all of them. There are also a lot of meetings with stakeholders.”

“Since my days are filled with meetings, the challenge is to find time to learn and prepare. In practice, I have to do these things in the evening. There are small breaks in between, and when I go home between four and five o’clock, it marks a clear cut-off point for the day.”

Tuesday: changing of the guard

As Vice President of Electricity Markets, Sihvonen-Punkka was involved in large Nordic projects – there will be a new method for calculating the electricity transmission capacity, an automated balancing power market, and a big push to get the Nordics aligned with the 15-minute electricity market in the rest of Europe.

Large reserve market projects are also underway.

“Our goal is to increase the supply and expand the market geographically, as the sellers of reserves would also benefit from having more than one buyer.” 

“It feels a bit sad to give up my role in this work, as I would like to help finish these critical projects in any way I can. As CEO, I cannot be involved in steering groups because if they had differing views, I would have the casting vote, so I should be impartial. These projects are in good hands: our experts are involved, along with our new Vice President of Electricity Markets, Antti Keskinen. The work will go on without me.”

“Otherwise, I really like my new role. It is great to see the entire company’s operations from this position. A really good strategy was completed last year, giving us clear guidelines. Of course, we need to keep the lights on, but we also need to get our customers involved in the power system transition.”

Sihvonen-Punkka states that in addition to developing the transmission grid, Fingrid must be able to use the current network as efficiently as possible.

“In addition, we must continue our work to increase supply in the reserve markets. The power system needs a lot more flexibility. We must also ensure that our own competence and leadership keep pace with the changes. My strengths are knowledge of the industry, stakeholders and our company.”

Wednesday: inspirational conversations

So far, Sihvonen-Punkka has not had much to do with building the main grid and ensuring sufficient transmission capacity, but steering groups allow her to get involved in these topics.

“This setup works well for us, and I do not need to pick over the details. I want to learn more about this side of things, and people are always happy to share their knowledge. Fingrid has an open and relaxed atmosphere, and I am often inspired by conversations that identify practical solutions to problems.”

Thursday: media interviews

The calendar has been cleared for another interview. In January, Sihvonen-Punkka gave dozens of interviews to various media outlets ranging from Tekniikka & Talous (Technology & Economics) to Me Naiset (We Women).

In her first week at work, she was thrown straight in at the deep end when a long period of very cold weather caused electricity consumption to peak, and Fingrid raised its readiness.

“We published announcements asking people to reduce their electricity consumption, and the media was very successful in taking the message forward. Of course, I was also called for comments many times, but luckily, the people and the topics were familiar to me. I was kept up to date with the situation, which was extremely important.” 

Friday: Management Team meeting and European affairs

At the first Management Team meeting of the year, Sihvonen-Punkka is chair for the first time. The meeting discusses Management Team procedures, the implementation of the One Fingrid strategy, information security, and the deployment of artificial intelligence.

The afternoon meeting covers Fingrid’s priorities within the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), where Sihvonen-Punkka is Deputy Chair for a two-year term.

“Major themes in the coming years will include offshore wind power and the allocation of costs for the infrastructure it demands, flexibility, the adequacy of electricity, and the need to develop a hedging market. We want to make a difference and be involved in these things.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *