Gray Rhinos, Tax Policies
Casey Herman is Assurance Partner, U.S. Leader for PwC’s Power and Utilities Sector and Co-Leader of PwC’s US Energy, Utilities and Mining practice.
Even as recounts and legal challenges progress, the press has declared former Vice President Biden the president elect, and the control of the Senate will depend on the outcome of the two Georgia run-off elections.
As these important processes meander toward conclusion, and I reflect on the most important issues facing the nation's agenda for energy and utility companies, I am struck by how much our world has changed in the last four years.
In some ways it feels like we've been run off the road by the COVID-19 pandemic — the ultimate Gray Rhino event. Importantly, we have only been forced off our path and temporarily detoured. We will recover and continue our journey, but I suspect the route, if not the destination, will be impacted by the election result.
Perhaps a lasting lesson from this pandemic is the specter of other future Rhinos (potential climate change impacts) and the acceptance that the best defense is to anticipate and prepare for them.
As we head into 2021, U.S. energy and utilities companies continue to cope with the challenges of dampened consumption and sales wrought by the pandemic. As a result of this demand destruction, energy prices have continued to soften — crude prices were around fifty dollars a barrel in 2016 compared to around forty dollars a barrel today — and natural gas and wholesale electricity prices remain near all-time lows.