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1st June 1922 was the day when a fascinating story of the transformation of Western Slovakia into a modern European region started. That day, Západoslovenská Elektrárna was established in Bratislava.
A hundred years of electricity have changed peoples' lives beyond recognition. And we in ZSE have changed too. What we were we and what we are today? We invite you to a small trip from the present day to the history...
Welcome to the energy industry of the 21st century. Technology reduced many of our workplaces to a few computers and monitors. The photo shows the current dispatch centre in Bratislava.
Paradoxically, less technology meant more equipment. The photo from 1982 shows Mr. Benčo who worked as an operator in the 100/22 kW electrical station in Nové Zámky.
Nowadays, looking at the computer's screen is the most typical picture of office work. Most of our communication has shifted to online mode and we use telephone services much less than we did in the past.
A typewriter and a fixed telephone line used to be the most distinctive parts of the offices. Here you can see our telephone exchange in 1976 and former colleagues Emília Matulová and Anna Buzinkayová.
Field workers of Západoslovenská distribučná are the invisible heroes of energy industry. To ensure reliable distribution of electricity, they often have to work at height. Today, they have modern equipment.
Repair on a medium voltage pole in 1980: work at height used to be riskier and more difficult. Technicians worked with less material and technical equipment. Rules for safety and protection of health at work were also less strict.
A hundred years later, ZSE is not only about sale and distribution of electricity. We now offer gas, solutions focusing on the use of renewable sources, e-mobility development and many other services for businesses and households.
For decades, heating industry used to be a part of our business too – until 2001. On the photo from 1999, we see in the back the former objects in Bratislava – Jurkovič heating plant (protected site, reconstructed in 2021), lower part of the 120-metre tall chimney from 1973 (demolished in 2009) and steam pipes. In the front, our employees Jana Dobošová, Martina Rickerová, Katarína Jenčová and Adrián Jenčo.
Our distribution system has undergone many upgrades and extensions. The size of the poles and advanced technology often require ambitious construction operations.
The 20th century was undoubtedly the time of the distribution system development. In this period, Slovakia became fully electrified. In the following periods, the power system was modernised and extended. The period photo shows steel poles ready for installation.
The dispatch centre is an imaginary brain of distribution. Our distribution company has two such control centres with non-stop operation: in Bratislava and Nitra. This is a look into the dispatch centre in Bratislava.
Today, the entire wall can fit into a monitor! This photo was taken in the Regional Dispatch Centre in Bratislava in 1974. It shows the operators of the “district” dispatch centres in Bratislava, Trnava and Nitra.
The field workers - network services technicians - are the soul and hands of energy business. Being an electrician is a vocation which in many families passes from generation to generation. Even today, fathers often meet their sons at work for ZSE.
Energy workers have always had respect and authority. In smaller cities, everybody used to know “their” electrician and this particularity still remains in some locations. The photo dates back to the 1980s.
Besides our duties, we make time for volunteering or environmental projects. The photo shows the installation of a booth for kestrels near Šelpice.
Some of the photos are really breath-taking. Revision of the 400 kV line in the 1980s. At that time, a helmet was not required for working at height. Ján Gažo in the photo.
Distribution workers use vehicles with a “cherry picker” platform. This piece captured people's attention in front of the “Gamča” building – a grammar school at Grösslingova street in Bratislava.
First, going to the site, and then up to heights. The photographer took a picture of our colleagues and distribution machinery, vehicle with a cherry picker for field work in the 1970s.
The typical site related to the distribution is the substation, i.e. electrical station. Atmosphere in our modern station in the Záhorie region.
The photo dates back to 1976 and it shows our colleagues maintaining the electrical station in Križovany. In the past, the employees could breed animals here –sheep. They were useful, as they grazed on grass under the installations.
One of the pre-Christmas traditions of our colleagues from Západoslovenská distribučná is the transportation of the Christmas tree to Bratislava's Main Square. They have been doing this already for 30 years and 2021 was no exception. They were welcomed by the legendary Schöne Náci.
The Christmas tree in Bratislava was lit up with electricity from ZSE in 1969 too. The tree was placed at the SNP Square in front of the cloister of the Merciful Brothers.
Energy workers must work under any weather conditions – technicians brave the terrain in winter too. This snow-covered site waited for our colleagues in Jablonka near Myjava where they were replacing a support pole.
Winter brings difficult situations and heavy snowfalls. Interruption of electricity as a result of bad weather is always a challenge for people working in the energy industry, but they spare no effort to face it.
Even though communication with the customers is becoming more virtual, we are still close to them in our ZSE Centres. This pleasant environment welcomes you in the Central shopping mall in Bratislava.
In the 1990s, our ZSE Centres (the then “business offices”) looked different. So did our colleagues who worked there. The first years after the Velvet Revolution brought – besides many other changes – a cheerfully colourful fashion.
Improvements and new ideas when the employees themselves look for the ways how to do the things better – that is the ZSE Excellence programme. This photo was taken at the end of the workshop of our colleagues from the Logistics Department.
The effort to use our employees' initiative and potential for the development of our company has always been here. The photo captures previous period when the word “building” preceded “innovating”.
Did you know that energy workers celebrate their own professional holiday? The Energy Industry Workers' Day is on 1st October. Traditionally, we in ZSE celebrate it together, having a big event called the Megawatt Party.
Many photos from various celebrations, meetings or events in our archives convince us that people working in energy industry had good times and a lot of fun in the past too. The photo shows Mr Zeleňák, Head of Accounting, and Ms Horváthová from HR unit, clinking glasses on the occasion of the International Women's Day.
We, in ZSE, love doing sport. We run corporate sport clubs where we meet up to enjoy sport and do exercise. The photo shows the ZSE RUN team after running a race in Bratislava.
Common sport events strengthened team spirit in ZSE in the past too. This photo was taken in the 1990s near Obyce and captures three charming wet runners having a good time and smiling despite bad weather.
This concludes our trip from the present day to the past. We are delighted if you liked it and thank you for your attention.
How has the energy industry in Western Slovakia developed since 1922? Find out more about the most important events of the 100-year-old existence of ZSE. Visit the ZSE History Milestones website.