With events fast-moving and widespread, effective approaches will consider how best to respond to these challenges now, which actions to put in place over the near term and how to plan for recovery over the long term. While it’s impossible to predict when this crisis will ease, taking actions with recovery in mind can help position companies to bounce back.
Five ways to reshape and plan for recovery
EY has identified five priorities for business leaders to consider – many based on perspectives and experiences from China and other countries in Asia, where COVID-19 first impacted. Energy companies should look to include these as they continue to implement their crisis actions plans:
1. Prioritize people safety and continuous engagement
Follow government advice regarding best practice around cleaning and social distancing. In particular, employees critical to maintaining critical assets and services need to be kept safe through regular health screening, ensuring they have access to personal protective equipment, and must follow social distancing guidelines by working in smaller and segregated teams or by being moved to offsite locations.
2. Reshape strategy for business continuity
During operational disruption, continue to assess financial and operational risks and evaluate short-term liquidity. Work with governments to identify vital infrastructure – power stations, substations, distribution networks and more. Identify and postpone noncritical maintenance but prioritize emergencies. Review the resilience of tier one suppliers, prepare a list of alternatives and plan for possible delays of raw materials. Identify required skill sets from within the existing or recently retired workforce to cover critical operations.
3. Communicate with relevant stakeholders
Clear, transparent and timely communications are critical as companies plan for recovery while securing ongoing support from customers, employees, regulators, governments and investors. Designate single points of contact to facilitate seamless engagement with regulators, local and national authorities, as well as other key internal and external stakeholders. Reassure impacted business and residential customers that service disconnections will be suspended for nonpayment and late fees will be waived and look into restoring services to previously disconnected households.
4. Maximize the use of government support policies
Many governments have introduced fiscal stimulus and assistance programs. Monitor these opportunities for support, consider how they may best serve individual circumstances and hold proactive dialogue with debt and finance providers. Energy companies may need to consider capital raising, debt financing or additional credit options to ensure continuous business operations.
5. Build resilience in preparation for the new normal
As new strategies are solidified, companies will want to review and renew business continuity plans. Planning for future contingencies based on risk intelligence scenario planning and modeling is critical given the unknown duration and impact of the crisis. Establishing lessons learnt relating to an increased proportion of the workforce working from home might also create opportunities and increase future resilience.