Utility segments, electricity generation, transmission, and distribution are crucial for the safe, secure, and sustainable generation and supply of electricity to end users.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess which utility business segment has been most impacted due to COVID-19.

Analysis of the poll results shows that distribution utility business segment has been impacted the most due to COVID-19, as opined by a majority 47% of the respondents.

Distribution segment in utility business impacted the most due to COVID-19

Furthermore, 33% of the respondents voted generation to be the most impacted and the remaining 20% of the respondents voted for transmission utility business segment as the most impacted.

The analysis is based on 222 responses received from the readers of Power Technology, a Verdict network site, between 26 August 2020 and 17 March 2021.

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Impact of COVID-19 on utility business segments

The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant reduction in electricity demand from both industrial and commercial consumers due to the lockdown restrictions. The decline in demand coupled with customers’ inability to pay bills on time due to the pandemic-induced economic crisis severely impacted the revenues of utilities.

Utilities also faced multiple challenges in terms of managing their operational workforce, and ensuring safety of workers and continuity of services. Further, they were forced to adapt to new operational models including distributed workforce and remote operations.

The decline in revenues caused by the pandemic forced utilities to cut down on operational expenses, which may have serious implications for system safety. Expenditure on new capital projects was also reduced by utilities.

A positive outcome of the pandemic, however, has been the adoption of digital technologies and automation to support workers through remote monitoring, evaluate performance of systems, and respond to critical situations.