Nick Haralambopoulos

What is your background?

I am an economist with a Master’s degree from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I have lived and worked in Australia, Greece and the United Kingdom, and have also worked extensively in other countries, predominantly in South Eastern Europe (e.g. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania, Western Balkans),  in the former Soviet Union countries (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine) and a collection of others (e.g. Egypt, Vietnam).

What’s it like working at ECA?

ECA is a small company and therefore unaffectedly fosters a common sense of purpose and a culture of belonging, commitment and teamwork. All staff are encouraged to participate and contribute in all aspects of ECA work and have the opportunity to share and develop ideas and innovative solutions with colleagues. ECA also combines flexible working arrangements (working from home is not frowned upon) with a strong international focus and the opportunity to work in varied country, economic and cultural settings. At ECA, one has the opportunity to work on some of the most interesting utility and economic challenges and to contribute to their actual (and not just theoretical) solution.

How will ECA help my career development/help me improve my skill set?

ECA provides a fertile ground for continuous development of knowledge and skills. I believe this is a function of at least three important factors. The first is the nature of the projects we win and undertake, which necessarily require us to address complex problems. The second is the extensive expertise of colleagues who openly share their knowledge and candidly challenge ideas, approaches and recommendations. The third is an absolute commitment to provide high-quality advice to clients that meets (and even surpasses) their expectations and upholds ECA’s reputation for excellence.

What type of projects do you typically work on?

Although the projects I have worked on are diverse, one common theme has been the establishment of prices or pricing principles that are consistent with a number of objectives such as efficiency, cost recovery and fairness. For example, I have managed an electricity tariff study in Cyprus, advised the Northern Ireland and Greek regulators on comprehensive changes to the revenue and pricing regulation of electricity transmission and distribution,  and helped develop gas pricing options for both Egypt and Vietnam in the context of planned market liberalisation. Another work aspect has entailed the restructuring and opening of energy markets to competition; for example, I recently completed projects in Egypt and Ukraine that examined extensive market reform options, with a particular emphasis on the separation of potentially competitive from natural monopoly activities and the introduction (or further promotion) of competition in production and supply. An additional and more recent area of involvement has been energy efficiency, where I have been managing the EBRD’s “Energy Efficiency Framework – Policy Dialogue” in the Western Balkans (under the auspices of the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme or ‘REEP’), which seeks to address systemic barriers to the realisation of energy efficiency improvement projects and the deployment of energy efficient technologies in the countries of relevance.

Am I expected to present to clients? Who are the typical clients you work for?

Presenting to clients is an important part of our work and in many cases represents the most effective means for communicating our methodologies, findings and recommendations. We undertake formal presentations at major project milestones (such as the delivery of interim and final reports), but we also need to present at ad hoc meetings with various stakeholders where key issues are to be discussed and analysed. The clients I have worked for to date are the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and relevant energy and other portfolio ministries in the EBRD’s countries of operation, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), the Natural Gas Authority of Israel, the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR), the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) in Greece, and the World Bank together with corresponding beneficiary entities such as the Ministry of Petroleum in Egypt and the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine.

Which countries have you covered in your time at ECA?

So far I have worked, or I am currently engaged, on projects in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, FYR of Macedonia, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Kosovo, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Ukraine and Vietnam. I also worked on a World Bank project that had broad worldwide coverage and another assignment for the Europe-wide energy regulator, ACER, covering all EU Member States.

What is the best thing about working at ECA?

The key benefit for me is definitely the opportunity to undertake interesting work in a congenial and productive work environment, while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance.