ENERGY & UTILITIES

Energy and Utilities

ENERGY & UTILITIES

 

To supplement the 10 questions provided in Issue 128 of Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight, the following additional questions are offered to directors serving on boards of energy companies and utilities:

  1. What actions are we taking to assess employee needs and preferences, particularly with respect to health and safety, for returning to the office, our facilities and the field?

     
  2. Have we assessed the cultural impacts that may result from a no-office-return or limited-office-return policy, and, if so, what does that plan look like?

     
  3. During the lockdown:
  • Did we have the appropriate network infrastructure and communication tools to support access to critical applications and allow sufficient collaboration between employees to facilitate remote work options?
  • Were there any critical applications, files or data that we realized could not be accessed remotely?
  • Did we have any critical third-party services on which we rely that were no longer able to operate and provide us with what we needed to operate?
  • What lessons did we learn from these experiences, and what steps have we taken to be better prepared in the event of a reoccurrence of the pandemic?
  1. Have we evaluated our cash flow from operations and financing needs in view of alternative recovery scenarios? Based on our assessment, do we face any challenges with regard to meeting debt covenants? If so, have we requested waivers?

     
  2. Do we have the appropriate network infrastructure and communication tools to support access to critical applications and allow sufficient collaboration between employees to facilitate remote work options?

     
  3. Is our digital maturity where it needs to be to position us to succeed in the eventual “new normal” and during the period leading up to it, even in the event of having to operate for a significant amount of time with a reduced workforce?

     
  4. With employment markets in such turmoil, have we reevaluated our recruiting practices and succession planning in order to maximize our effectiveness in attracting and retaining the talent we need to support and execute our strategy? Have we placed the highest priority on preventing the loss of critical personnel with institutional knowledge to sustain our operations?

     
  5. Have we assessed our key contracts for must-act-by dates, required minimums or other use clauses in order to avoid forfeiting rights to key assets currently under contract (e.g., land leases, storage, easements)? If any such clauses exist for significant assets, have we sought relief due to the unique circumstances of the lockdown?

     
  6. How are evolving market and investor expectations and views on climate change and emissions affecting our strategy regarding environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters? Are we prepared to make the necessary adjustments to our strategy going forward?

     
  7. If there will be a reduction in the workforce as a result of the lockdown and/or market conditions, are effective protocols in place to obtain company-issued assets (e.g., laptops, mobile devices) from a remote workforce and quickly deprovision user access to key systems in order to prevent any unauthorized access or malicious acts?

 

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