Market design in a world of energy transformation

We are pleased to launch the new Power & Utilities roundtable discussion paper Market Design in a World of Energy Transformation.

Senior executives and experts from 12 countries and four continents gathered in for a PwC roundtable on market design in a world of energy transformation in Brussels, Belgium. The event brought together leading players with substantial experience from both the regulatory and corporate spheres to discuss how market design can best evolve to meet the challenges of new energy systems.

Power market design varies considerably in different jurisdictions around the world but everywhere market design faces common challenges. In a changing energy world, power systems are becoming more decentralised and, with that, comes volatility. The need to balance energy resilience with flexibility is adding a new tension to the central trilemma of reliability, affordability and sustainability. The contrast between the similarity of the challenges and the difference in market design approaches offers a great opportunity. What was evident from the roundtable discussion is that there should be no need to invent market design solutions from scratch. Different parts of the world have followed different evolutionary paths and have adopted different policy frameworks. There are things that are done well and things that are done badly everywhere and we can learn from them.

Read more.

The Developing Role of Blockchain

We are pleased to launch the new White Paper that PwC has created in cooperation with the World Energy Council (WEC): The Developing Role of Blockchain.

Blockchain has the potential to change the way we arrange, record and verify transactions, with the underlying model shifting away from a centralised structure towards decentralised systems. It is no surprise then that, outside of the financial sector, the energy sector is seen as one of the industries where blockchain could have the biggest transformative and disruptive impact.

But there are still a number of uncertainties in the way of blockchain which still could limit or even stall its growth due to a combination of technological, regulatory and other practical challenges.

Among the big questions surrounding blockchain are: Will its early potential translate into robust and reliable, practical applications? How sure can we be that its promise of greater cybersecurity will be fulfilled and that it won’t introduce new, possibly bigger risks?

Read more.

Reimagining the electric utility: Operational excellence in a digital world

More than 60 senior executives and experts from 16 different countries and four continents gathered in May 2017 in Rome, Italy for PwC’s roundtable on delivering operational excellence in a digital world.

“The utility sector is at a historic inflection point in its technological evolution”, observed Norbert Schwieters, PwC’s Global Power & Utilities Leader. Introducing the roundtable event, he pointed out: “The range of business models is expanding with corresponding implications for business alignment, core capabilities and profitability. This new business environment means operational excellence is more important than ever. It must serve a new set of business demands and provide a new set of business capabilities.”

Key messages of the discussion paper

    • Digital business strategy and delivery: The digital promise for utility companies is immense. As David Etheridge, Global Power & Utilities Advisory Leader, PwC US, explained: “It’s a world where companies can say ‘I know what I need to do and I know it real-time’. They’re able to reach out with 360 degree vision and make the best choices available without the impediment of estimation risk, prediction risk and without the impediment of ‘less than the best’ information.” But getting to that point is difficult: “If you get it wrong, you can be disappointed by the results. Do it right and you get to realise the potential of technologies such as machine learning, robotics, drones, additives and blockchain.”
    • Moving to a new level: digital platforms and blockchain:  Developments such as digital platforms and blockchain are becoming very real for many power utility companies. The power of platform communities and marketplaces has been evident for some time in the consumer internet. For industrial companies and sectors such as power utilities the potential is perhaps even greater with the opportunity that arises to create digital networks capable of transforming both operational efficiencies and market possibilities.
    • Addressing operational challenges: A range of major issues affects the daily life of utilities – from workforce demographics, commodities prices and infrastructure integrity to tariff reviews, grid modernisation and new types of competition. Regulation plays a huge role and the way companies work is strongly influenced by both their regulatory and historical contexts. This is the reality against which technological and digital transformation is being played out.


Download full discussion paper



Marc Schmidli
Advisory Partner
Tel. +41 58 792 1564

Jens Bartenschlager
Advisory Director
Tel. +41 58 792 1693

The changing role of the CFO: How energy transformation is shifting the CFO focus

Our new Thought Leadership report

The new report, which forms part of a series of PwC publications on energy transformation, looks at how the power sector CFO role is evolving, the challenges it needs to address and the capabilities that will be crucial for delivering first-class performance.

It looks at eight specific challenges arising out of energy transformation:

1. Anticipating and leveraging the impact of new technologies
2. Reassessing and restructuring the asset portfolio to optimise value
3. Designing new ventures and commercial arrangements
4. Achieving full recovery of prior investments
5. Influencing policymakers and regulators
6. Replacing declining revenues from traditional businesses
7. Measuring enterprise performance as business models shift
8. Attracting capital through appropriate risk allocation

Which are your challenges and how does this effects your company? Please get in touch with me for any further discussion.

Download the full report here.

Be ready: the new global P&U Thought Leadership report is coming…

We are pleased to announce the global launch of our new Thought Leadership report:

“The changing role of the CFO
How energy transformation is shifting the CFO focus”

The changing role of the CFO: how energy transformation is shifting the CFO focus shows how CFOs in the power sector are shifting from stewardship to  strategy, value realisation and optimisation. The new report, which forms part of a series of PwC publications on energy transformation, looks  at how the power sector CFO role is evolving, the challenges it needs to address and the capabilities that will be crucial for delivering first-class performance.

The report emphasises that the historical CFO capabilities related to management reporting, performance management and investor relationships will continue, but they will become more akin to minimum requirements. Alongside them, CFOs need to be better at communicating where strategy is taking the company and the link between strategy and value realisation.

Be ready for the launch on 24 November 2015!

Digital utility Transformation: PwC power & utilities roundtable discussion paper

Digital utility transformationMore than 80 senior executives and experts from 12 different countries gathered in May 2015 in Paris, France, for PwC’s roundtable on the digital utility of the future and the strategies that companies are implementing to get there.

“The promise of digital transformation is huge,” observed Norbert Schwieters, PwC’s Global Power & Utilities Leader. Introducing the roundtable event, he went on: “From grid management to customer relations, an effective digital strategy can revolutionise all areas of the power utility business. It’s at the heart of the energy transformation challenge.”

Main topics:

• making moves along the digital transformation road
• digital promise and reality
• different customer expectations in a digital world
• delivering digital securely
• digital in the world of the ‘internet of things’

Download the discussion paper here.

If you have any further questions please contact me.


A different energy future

14th PwC Global Power & Utilities Surveyenergy

We are witnessing considerable disruption in the power sector arising from a combination of policy, technological and customer change. It’s creating a transformation in how we think about, produce and use electricity. In some parts of the world, disruption is already taking a strong hold. In other parts of the world, it is just beginning. It comes on top of the already considerable existing challenges companies face in providing energy security, affordability and sustainability.

The PwC Global Power & Utilities Survey goes to the heart of boardroom thinking in utility companies across the globe. In this, our 14th edition, we look at the major changes facing the sector as it gets to grips with the prospect of a very different energy world ahead. We look at the way companies expect their markets and business models to change in the period to 2030 and get their viewpoint on the outlook for the energy trilemma and risks facing them in the short term. For many, the current way of doing business is at stake and survey participants give their insight on what operational changes lie ahead and whether the future will bring success or failure.

Read more here.