History of OVIT

Since its establishment, the history of MVM OVIT Országos Villamostávvezeték Zrt., briefly and as known: OVIT, has been closely intertwined with the establishment, operation, maintenance and development of the Hungarian high-voltage transmission network. Its legal predecessor, the Távvezetéképítő Nemzeti Vállalat (TÁVÉP), started its operation in 1949. The company was merged in several steps with the Országos Villamostávvezeték Vállalat, founded in 1951, in several steps. Upon its foundation, the company took over the operation of 257 kilometers of 60 kV and 330 kilometers of 100 kV transmission line and 5 substations from the Magyar Dunántúli Villamossági Rt.

The recovery and rapid development of the industry after the war has given rise to many tasks for the domestic electric power industry. Damaged or decommissioned power plants had to be rebuilt, the network repaired and reinforced. OVIT raised the voltage level of the existing 60 and 100 kV transmission lines to 110 kV and then to 120 kV as of 1952, thus beginning the multi-year process of merging the national network. The expansion of international network connections has also accelerated. From 1953, the construction of 220 kV power lines began.

The network development concept of the ’60s set out to establish a 400/120 kV national and international cooperative transmission network. In 1965, OVIT began construction of the first 400 kV transmission line and the Göd substation. In addition to the 400 kV installations, in the ’70s OVIT faced a task that was rarely seen at the time: establishing a very high-capacity 750 kV connection between Hungary and Ukraine.

The facility, which includes the Albertirsa-border 750 kV power line and the Albertirsa 750/400 kV transformer station, has been made a major public investment. The high-volume construction works lasting for three years, from 1975 to 1978, meant developing new construction-assembly technologies, purchasing major machines, designing and manufacturing about seventy new devices, and significant expansions for OVIT. In addition, the 750 kV program was inextricably linked to a major invention, the FAM (working under voltage) procedure, which was developed by dr. Béla Csikós, the company’s chief engineer at the time, and is protected by several patents.

The 750 kV work created at OVIT such powers in scale and character, the use of which was not sufficiently secured by the short and medium term development plans of the network. In this situation, the company made prospective decisions: it kept most of its modern assets and human resources. While performing its tasks related to the Hungarian transmission network according to the increased demands of the system, it sought and won more and more business opportunities in the domestic and foreign energy markets, and continuously completed foreign power line construction and installation works in the 1980s: for example, in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Greece.

At all times, OVIT has created its new technologies and acquired the state-of-the-art equipment with a high degree of professionalism, and it also used a range of self-developed and self-manufactured tools and small machines, while gaining an international professional recognition that continues to be felt today.

The company specializes in moving large network transformers and has acquired unique capabilities thereby. OVIT has also launched at the market its transportation business with unique equipment and has been continuously carrying out power plant, network and even special heavy machinery shipments for domestic and foreign clients.

Following the change of regime, on December 31, 1991, OVIT was transformed into the Országos Villamostávvezeték Részvénytársaság as its general legal successor. This company retained its full range of activities, but the investment, maintenance and management role of its proprietary network was replaced by entrepreneurial activity based on contracts with new network owners. In 1993, OVIT undertook a substantial, well-prepared and profound organizational change to ensure that the company was adapted to the changing external circumstances, helping to develop a market-sensitive behavior and working style.

At the beginning of the decade, the range of technical tasks to be solved was opened with the goal of integration into the unified system of Western Europe, which created several new technical requirements for the Hungarian network. In 1993, MVM launched a comprehensive project called Control Technology Modernization of the Operation Control System (ÜRIK). OVIT contributed to the development of the principles of the new system, participated in the design and the construction of the new telemechanical sub-centers, and preinstalled the new data transmission system. All this provided a good basis for preparing the remote management of the transmission network substations as the latest development stage in network operation. With the participation of OVIT in the planning and complex implementation, the complete reconstruction of the 400/120 kV substation in Hévíz, Toponár and Felsőzsolca and the construction of the 220/120 kV substation in Ócsa had begun. In the spirit of the determined 400 kV Hungarian-Croatian-Slovenian international cooperation, OVIT has built the Hévíz-country border dual-circuit 400 kV transmission line.

Along with the company-wide organizational transformation of October 1993, the OVIT’s management recognized the need to build an ISO 9001 quality assurance system. By introducing and operating a documented quality system, which was also introduced to our customers, the company wanted to achieve the continuous high quality of its operations, which is indispensable in the competitive market. OVIT’s Quality Policy Statement was formulated on April 15, 1994. Subsequently, the quality documents were prepared by internal teams based on process controls tailored to each standard point. In September 1995, the basic quality system documentation and the three-level system documentation were completed: the Quality Manual, the Quality Procedural Instructions and the Work Manual. In December 1996, following a successful certification audit, OVIT became the first certified company in the Hungarian electricity industry. In November 1998, the auditors of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant and the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority carried out a successful certification audit for compliance with nuclear conditions.

Hungary has been an associate member of UCTE since January 1, 1999. As a condition of membership, the Hungarian system must have a fast-start secondary reserve power plant capacity. For this purpose, MVM has installed fast start-up gas turbines with a nominal performance of 125 MW at two transmission network nodes, Litér and Sajószöged. The vast majority of electrical technology work was designed and installed by OVIT as a subcontractor for the French EEA company. In 1999, the construction of another gas turbine power plant started in Lőrinci as part of the MVM’s investment. In the project, OVIT carried out the architectural and electrical work on the 120 kV field construction, the installation of the auxiliary frames, the 120 kV cable installation, and the delivery and installation of the transformer. The operation of the three gas turbine power plant (operation and provision of the standby power required for unexpected start-ups) was carried out by the OVIT’s experts until 31 May 2000 on the basis of a mandate from MVM.

The rapidly developing telecommunications technology of the 1990s brought to the fore the creation of fiber optic cable systems in Hungary as well. OVIT has been involved from the beginning in the installation of the optical fiber backbone networks in Hungary, as well as in the installation of light cables on existing or under construction power lines as a full-fledged contractor with adaptation planning, installation and measurement.

In the 1990s, the company’s design engineers created a new set of highly versatile technologies and structures that can maintain continuous operation of the pipeline over any period of work at a certain section of a transmission line (in one or more places between poles). The reusable, temporary (provisional) power line poles have also been designed and manufactured by OVIT in 120, 220 and 400 kV versions, tested in large-scale experiments and successfully used in a number of unexpected malfunctions with damage or pre-planned reconstructions.

In addition OVIT’s transmission network developments, perhaps the most significant was the company’s involvement in modernizing the power supply of the Budapest-Hegyeshalom railway line. As the winner of the tender announced by MÁV, OVIT completed the reconstruction and modernization of the Tatabánya, Nagyszentjános and Kimle substations as well as the construction and commissioning of the new MÁV-ELMŰ substation next to Biatorbágy. With the excellent references obtained here, OVIT has been awarded major assignments for various electrification works on the railways. In April 1998, Siemens started the modernization of three railway lines (Balatonszentgyörgy-Murakeresztúr, Székesfehérvár-Szombathely and Rákospalota-Vácrátót). The works ending on 15 December 2000 included the construction and commissioning of new substations (Balatonszentgyörgy, Veszprém, Zalakomár, Celldömölk, Kanizsavár), the extension or reconstruction of existing substations (Szombathely, Istvántelek), the performance of the related power line and transportation tasks, the installation of complex protection and control systems, and the manufacture and installation of auxiliary equipment.

By the 2000s, MVM’s medium and long-term network development strategy included a complete overhaul of the transmission network. For OVIT, this meant with regard to substations that it could undertake the primary and secondary reconstruction at all voltage levels of each substation. In addition, brand new transformer stations with green fields were built, such as the Ócsa substation, and the Pécs and Szombathely 400/120 kV substations. The new 400 kV transmission lines of the decade became the Győr-Szombathely, Sándorfalva-Békéscsaba, Békéscsaba-national border, Paks-Pécs, Albertirsa-(Szolnok)-Békéscsaba, Martonvásár-(Paks)-Toponár, Paks-Sándorfalva, Paks-Litér, Litér-(Hévíz)-Toponár, Sándorfalva-country border and the Szombathely-Hévíz lines.

In the course of the performance of its transmission network tasks and assignments, OVIT has always used the most advanced and technically appropriate tools and equipment available on the world market, due to its expertise, market knowledge and extensive contacts. In addition, it has continuously developed its own technologies and tools.

In December 2002, as part of the further development of the Quality Management System (MIR), the integrated Environmental Management System (EMS) was certified according to the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard, and the external audit of the Integrated MIR-EMS systems also took place. In 2004, the OVIT integrated Management System, as first in the electricity industry, was supplemented by the Occupational Health and Safety Management System (MEBIR).

The first major change in OVIT’s organization and operation in the 21st century took place on January 1, 2006, when the Operation Directorate’s nearly 500 employees and at the same time the operation of the transmission network were transferred to MAVIR ZRt. Despite this major change, OVIT was able to continue to strengthen its market presence and, by significantly expanding in some areas, it was also able to make up for lost operating revenues. As a continuation of its operating activities, the company was awarded a tender for the operation of the power supply equipment of the Mol Dunai Refinery.

In the 2000s, the company opened new profiles in the nuclear power, telecommunications and industrial high-consumption areas, and in order to provide professional services in these areas it employed a specialist staff of highly qualified, experienced staff with local knowledge who had came from other companies. In total, this meant more than 200 new entrants from the staff of Paksi Atomerőmű Zrt., ATOMIX Kft., MVM Zrt., Mol Nyrt. and Schneider ElectricZrt. During the same period, the Steel Structure Business Directorate, recognizing the market demand and utilizing and developing the existing resources, while serving uninterruptedly the domestic demand, produced thousands of tons of industrial steel structures for the European market.

As of June 1, 2007, OVIT has been a subsidiary of the MVM (Magyar Villamos Művek) Group. Through the legal institution introduced in Act IV of 2006 on Business Associations, the parent company, MVM Zrt. now coordinates the business activities of the subsidiaries of the group with the help of a unified, efficient management system. Along with its transformation into a recognized corporate group, the corporate identity has also been renewed: a unified corporate image have replaced the former heterogeneous image at the company group and all its members, including OVIT, thus expressing the group’s unity and common strategic goals.

The change that began in previous years at OVIT reached another milestone on January 1, 2008. In addition to the previous three directorates, a new Maintenance Directorate has become part with the company, which is responsible for power plant maintenance, project implementation and service activities. Its task was to carry out maintenance, refurbishment, installation and certain service tasks in power plants, especially in the power plants of the MVM Group.

The recent changes to the organizational structure as of January 1, 2010 were in line with the goals, challenges and expectations outlined in OVIT’s long-term plans. The former Technical Directorate was separated into the Network Directorate and the Production Directorate. In line with the company’s traditional activities, the Network Directorate was responsible for the establishment, maintenance and operation of the core network – and related areas of expertise. The Production Directorate, created on the basis of the former Directorate of Corrosion Protection, Steel Structure and Machine Repair, was responsible for the transportation and steel structure sector. As the growth of this latter business sector accelerated in those years, and its development became a priority, the result was to create new organizational units that were more responsive to the manufacturing processes. In order to strengthen the project approach, the organization of the Enterprise Directorate has also been restructured. The name of the Maintenance Directorate was changed to the Power Plant and Maintenance Directorate.

In 2010, the company adopted a new medium-term strategy setting a new goal of active participation in rail development. At the same time as developing its inventory of railway construction equipment and the further training of its network installation specialists, the company won its first railway overhead line modernization assignments in 2011. Thus, with more than a quarter of a century of substation construction experience, it was able to provide complex services in the field of railway development.

On March 1, 2011, the Company’s Power Plant Machine Manufacturing Directorate was established and the Power Plant Machine Manufacturing Plant, which was previously owned by TranselektroGanz-Röck, began production of power plant and industrial boilers, custom machinery and equipment.

On April 18, 2012, the Company’s company name was changed to MVM OVIT Országos Villamostávvezeték Zrt. according to the decision of its General Meeting.

MVM OVIT Zrt’s foreign market presence has been steadily expanding in the following years. In 2012, the company participated in power line projects in Scotland and Germany, and since 2013, has carried out network renovation tasks in the Czech Republic. In 2012-2013, MVM OVIT Zrt. upgraded the security and control technology system of the Swiss-based CERN’s 66 kV electrical network. In 2014, the company won the tender for the construction of two 400 kV, 185 km long electric power lines in Jordan. In October 2015, MVM OVIT Zrt. signed a joint venture agreement in Saudi Arabia so that it may participate in high-voltage network construction tenders by entering the country’s energy market as a general contractor.

On February 1, 2019, another major organizational change took place at the company celebrating its 70th anniversary. The essence of the new organizational structure is that MVM OVIT Zrt. has organized its main activities into well separated divisions. Thus, the Substation, Power Line, Nuclear Plant, Steel Structure, and Photovoltaic Divisions were established, each with a Division Directorate.

At the end of the year, on December 1, 2019, an era in the life of the company ended and a new era began. Since the long-term strategy of MVM Group includes the optimization of the activities of its member companies, the transmission line and substation activities of MVM OVIT Zrt. were taken over by newly established MVM XPert Zrt. through legal succession, whereas the nuclear power plant activity of MVM OVIT Zrt. was taken over on July 1, 2020 by MVM Nukleáris Karbantartó Zrt., again through legal succession.

As a member of MVM Group, MVM XPert Zrt. is now in charge of ensuring that the partners of the company group have access to high-quality technical services for their substation and power line investments, whereas MVM Nukleáris Karbantartó Zrt. makes it possible for MVM Paksi Atomerőmű Zrt. and the company group to use high-quality electrical and management technology, as well as mechanical assembly and maintenance services. The uninterrupted quality of service is guaranteed among others by the fact that the activities of MVM XPert Zrt. and MVM Nukleáris Karbantartó Zrt. are also managed by the management team of MVM OVIT Zrt.

MVM OVIT Zrt. continues performing the manufacturing of steel structures and power plant machinery, the construction of photovoltaic power plants, the operation of the electricity supply system of industrial facilities, the transportation of special, large and bulk goods by road, rail and water, as well as the operation, construction and renovation of telecommunication networks at a professional standard.