Fundamental changes require bold strategies.
Jack Azagury and Tim Porter are partners and Andre Begosso is a senior manager with Accenture’s utilities industry group consulting practice. Email Jack at email@example.com, Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org and Andre at andre.p.begosso@ accenture.com. The authors acknowledge the contributions of Curtis Bech, Accenture consultant.
The regulated utility industry in the United States faces an unprecedented dilemma, caught between the conflicting demands needed to address the requirements of its shareholders, the environment and society. While environmental and societal pressures will continue to intensify, the targets remain uncertain and the methods for meeting and financing these requirements are less than clear. What is clear is the magnitude of the challenge ahead. The United States is facing a massive demand for investment in its electric system, from generation to distribution. An estimated $400 billion to $1 trillion will be needed over the next 20 years to upgrade our electrical infrastructure. The rate impact to the average retail customer would run between $75 and $200 per year, and that does not even consider any additional cost resulting from stricter environmental legislation. Rate increases of this magnitude are untenable.