How can you protect value in the energy sector?

Improving cost management through the energy crisis

The interdependence of global energy markets is causing disruption for companies in many sectors. As the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine impacts oil and gas markets, triggering extreme price volatility and commodity cost inflation, companies are faced with tough choices precisely at a time when they are striving to decarbonise operations and implement an ESG transformation. Pressure on balance sheets is also increasing—especially for heavy energy users—alongside rising interest rates and higher costs of capital. At a minimum, companies will need to manage the working capital impact of volatile prices; at worst, they may struggle for survival if they cannot cut energy usage or absorb higher prices.

Spotlight on the European market

Governments in Europe may need to step in to protect consumers in late 2022, as a range of factors continue to affect its energy market:

  • Increasing proliferation of gas supply disruption

  • Ongoing financial distress for retail suppliers in energy

  • Rising concern about a gas crunch

  • Higher cost of living for consumers

  • Rising fuel poverty


Who is hit hardest?


Market context

  • Demand destruction: Higher costs in energy-intensive industries lead to lower utilisation or closures.
  • Governments might intervene in winter to reduce industrial demand.
  • Future uncertainty creates an incentive to lock-in energy costs in contracts now.

Downside risks

  • Closures of noncritical energy-intensive industries are much more likely.
  • Governments may close or curtail non-essential industries.
  • An inability to hedge against energy price movements increases risk exposure.
  • A potential wave of increased financial distress would impact non-domestic or B2B energy suppliers.

Transport & Logistics

Market context

  • High costs, particularly for diesel, push inflation through the supply chain for road transport logistics.
  • Costs increase for the aviation sector.
  • Commodity price inflation could hinder major transport infrastructure projects. 

Downside risks

  • Governments may need to manage provision, and reduce non-essential activity.

Retail & Consumer

Market context

  • Consumer disposable income is further reduced, due to rising domestic fuel and transport fuel costs.
  • Risk of recession increases.
  • Government under increasing pressure to provide support to the vulnerable.

Downside risks

  • Without government intervention, an energy crisis could have knock-on effects in the economy, reducing product availability and raising prices.

How can you create value amid disruption? Use a value bridge.

For companies surrounded by economic uncertainty mixed with a competitive surge of deals worldwide, creating value is a real challenge. A value bridge can be used to identify actions that can prevent value loss and preserve value in times of disruption, while also strengthening your company's competitive positioning to help it come out ahead.

Learn more about value creation

Value levers

Enterprise value

Value Creation

Full potential value

How can companies respond to preserve value

Cash flow

Understand the impact of sustained higher energy costs on your next 18- to 24-month cash flow. Identify the levers that can mitigate the impact across your organisation and determine how you can activate them.

Operational improvements

Review the impact of operational improvements on business plan performance and assess the potential for cost reduction in other areas. Check your energy contracts and test your exposure to price increases under different hedging and price scenarios. Examine your supplier relationships and test the resilience of both supply chain and their ability to pass energy price increases through to end-customers. 


Review your customer commitments, your contractual position, and your ability to manage supply or pass price increases through to end-consumers.

ESG transition strategy

Reduce your energy demand and reassess opportunities to improve energy efficiency, including using energy-efficient equipment, staggering work hours, applying demand analytics, and educating employees on energy efficiency.

Long-term replacements

Improve your energy supply resilience by sourcing alternative supply or on-site low-carbon generation, such as rooftop solar. Consider electrifying your fleet.

Supply chain de-risking

Make sure that your critical suppliers of energy, fuel and other services are resilient.

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Contact us

Drew Stevenson

Drew Stevenson

UK Energy Utilities and Resources Industry Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Isabelle Gross

Isabelle Gross

Partner, UK Energy and Utilities Restructuring Lead, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7802 659267

Robert Turner

Robert Turner

UK Energy & Resources Lead, Partner, Strategy& UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7583 5000

Adrian Del Maestro

Adrian Del Maestro

Strategy&, Director of Research, PwC United Kingdom

Heather  Swanston

Heather Swanston

Global Business Restructuring Services Leader, Partner, PwC Japan