The challenges facing utility companies around the globe include increased competition, limited government subsidies, stricter CO2 regulations, customer churn and technological disruption. Bain works with utilities to turn these challenges into opportunities by strengthening their core business, expanding into adjacencies, improving operational efficiencies, and retaining and expanding their customer base.
What We Do
Bain has worked with clients on hundreds of projects in the utilities and renewable energy industries around the globe. Our clients represent a broad cross-section of the sector: power generators, electric and gas utilities, multi-utility conglomerates, renewable energy providers, energy trading companies, gas storage and distribution players, energy service companies, water and waste utilities and diversified global energy leaders.
Our energy consultants help enhance performance across the industry value chain, providing expertise in generation, trading and storage, transmission, distribution and retail. We also work with clients to strengthen key capabilities, drawing on our experience to optimize the organization, improve operational performance and to refine corporate and customer strategies.
At the corporate level, our experts collaborate with management to:
- Develop a corporate investment strategy
- Evaluate macro and industry trends and their impact on utilities
- Implement new business models, such as "smart" energy efficiency services or distributed generation
- Identify the right level of vertical integration
- Define portfolio and international expansion strategies
- Increase efficiency of support functions
- Integrate corporate strategy and corporate finance to manage total shareholder return
- Instill a high-performance culture and decision-driven organization throughout the business
- Ensure effective change management via our Results Delivery® approach
At the business-unit level, Bain helps clients:
- Optimize future generation mix and fuel sourcing
- Cope with decarbonization and other regulatory requirements
- Improve energy trading and develop storage strategies
- Increase operating performance in transmission and distribution, such as field force optimization and capital project management
- Retain and expand their customer bases through loyalty programs, customer segmentation and other measures
- Deploy assets and IT investments for maximum return
- Capitalize on technology trends and expand into the right adjacencies
Through our Private Equity group and Mergers & Acquisitions practice we can deploy a team of seasoned experts to help our utility clients evaluate potential deals through due-diligence and execute M&A and post-merger integration.
For details about Bain’s work with companies across the oil and gas value chain, see our Oil & Gas practice page.
Utilities face an increasingly challenging environment that presents both opportunities and risks.
Worldwide, utilities find themselves buffeted by wave after wave of change. The source of the turbulence: shifts on the regional and global scale as well as in the public and private sectors. As initiatives for a sustainable energy mix evolve, utility companies that invest wisely position themselves to benefit from the changing industry landscape.
To remain competitive over the next decade, utilities will need to make significant investments and have focused efforts to renew and expand their generation capacity, improve operational efficiency and retain and expand their customer base. Decisions will require tough choices due to several new realities, including:
- Increased competition
- New and evolving technologies for improved energy efficiency and storage, distributed generation and smart grid and metering
- Limited subsidies due to government budget constraints
- Continued regulatory environment that mandates CO2 abatement
- Customers’ concerns about the environment and their increasing willingness to switch suppliers
- Pressure on utilities’ balance sheets and cash flows
Bain works alongside utility companies, at all levels of the organization, to evaluate the risks and opportunities inherent in these trends and constraints. We work with our clients to prevent and remedy the pain points and maximize business value by taking full advantage of underlying opportunities.
Utility leaders will benefit from optimizing their core business and thoughtfully evaluating adjacent opportunities.
Companies that successfully generate growing revenue and profit focus first on achieving full potential in their core businesses—in terms of both scope and performance—and then pursue a disciplined expansion into attractive adjacencies.
As it pertains to their core business, utility leaders seeking to achieve full potential need to:
- Frame their generation investment strategy under uncertainty
- Develop field force effectiveness
- Build customer loyalty
Beyond their immediate core, areas such as energy efficiency and distributed generation open up new opportunities. Our energy consultants can help identify dependable, low-risk adjacencies with favorable economics to invest in—and how to tradeoff and integrate them with the core business initiatives.