The utility business environment is unique, complex and not for the faint of heart. Utilities are historically sensitive to market pressures, regulatory constraints and many other factors outside their control. The often-repeated chorus about the changing business environment includes aging infrastructure, rising environmental compliance costs, flat or declining load, changes in customer expectations, competition from distributed energy resources (DER) and declining returns on equity approved by regulators.
The year 2020 was also full of natural disasters — wildfires, hurricanes and a global pandemic. There were some significant man-made challenges as well, with respect to geopolitical forces, cybersecurity, supply chain, reliability and a presidential election.
T&D World surveyed its utility audience to dig deeper into this unprecedented business environment, and identify trends and market influences impacting utilities. The results of this Utility Market Transformation Report are provided here.
It is perhaps unsurprising that 30% of utility employees reported feeling more market or business uncertainty in their role, more so now than ever. Changing technologies, workforce challenges, energy markets and the utility business model itself were cited as the top drivers of this uncertainty. Additionally, 36% of respondents reported a change in their utility’s long-term business plan because of this uncertainty.