Commentary — Energy and Utilities Industry Group

By Tyler Chase, Global Leader, Energy and Utilities Industry Practice, Protiviti

Notable observations

  • Operational issues are the priority focus for energy and utilities executives in 2023 as they seek to guide their organizations through a time of significant transition and growth for the industry.
  • Many of these companies are under intense pressure to modernize their operations, amplify innovation and adopt new business models to meet the rapidly rising demand for energy services (including renewable energy solutions) driven by population growth, electrification and other trends.
  • Many energy and utilities companies have spent the past year, or even longer in some cases, looking inward to determine how they can be more resilient and agile overall. Improving management of regulatory risks has been part of that effort.
  • Leading companies are ramping up their monitoring and compliance efforts to meet increasing ESG demands. Those efforts have improved their ability to respond to future regulatory changes, including climate-related disclosures.
  • Extreme weather events around the globe are taxing, disrupting and, in many cases, outright destroying critical energy infrastructure, including renewable energy infrastructure. These events can impact energy companies’ operations in other ways, as well, from preventing essential staff from reaching critical worksites to sidelining company communications.
  • The energy industry is especially vulnerable to supply chain risk given that its value chain is highly service-, feedstock-, parts- and equipment-oriented. Many organizations run lean inventories as a strategy to balance out operational costs. Increased globalization and reliance on third parties are also contributing factors to supply chain fragility for energy companies.
  • Many energy and utilities businesses are focusing on improving their supply chain resilience over the past year as part of their overall efforts to strengthen their operations. Leading companies are building formal supply chain capabilities, which is helping them to improve all aspects of their supply chain processes. Strategies include regionalizing and investing in cloud technology to enhance supply chain visibility.
  • Businesses are still struggling to hire and train enough skilled talent to replace experienced personnel retiring from the workforce in growing numbers — and often earlier than expected. The need to secure highly specialized technical skills for jobs in areas such as renewables is another obstacle to energy companies overcoming critical staffing challenges.
  • M&A activity is rising as energy firms look to grow their business and/or jump-start or expand their interests in renewable energy. To prevent the loss of critical human capital due to post-merger “culture shock,” traditional energy companies aiming to acquire renewable energy startups will want to handle the integration process with great care, prioritizing communication and employee engagement from the outset.
  • Energy companies are under pressure to transform their operations and take advantage of technologies like AI and natural language processing. Given that workers with these skills are in short supply in the labor market, energy businesses will need to upskill and reskill existing employees to work with these new tools to fully realize their value proposition — and not all staff will welcome that change or be able to adapt to it.
  • Leaders are worried that their businesses — and their workers — will be unable or unwilling to keep pace with technological change in the coming decade. That, in turn, can prevent these companies from deploying advanced technologies effectively to create sustainable competitive advantage and to help drive transformation in the energy industry as a whole.

Research brief  Infographic


Tyler is the Global leader of Protiviti’s Energy and Utilities (E&U) industry, which covers all segments of the Oil and Gas value chain, Power & Utilities, Renewables, and Mining. In this role, Tyler ensures that Protiviti has robust offerings in Internal Audit ...


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