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Utility CEO Article Series on the Decarbonization Journey

In a Public Utilities Fortnightly series, Guidehouse and PUF interview utility leaders on their pathways to a clean energy future

Utilities are heavily invested in decarbonization for the communities and customers that they serve. As more utilities set net-zero targets by 2050 or earlier, they will need to change their strategy, investment and divestiture plans, business and regulatory models, products and services, and operations and people to capitalize on the opportunities of their decarbonization journey.

CMS Energy, Duquesne Light Company, and Portland General Electric on Decarbonization and Customers

In a Public Utilities Fortnightly (PUF) article—the first in this series—Guidehouse’s Jan Vrins, partner and leader of the global Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure segment, and Dan Hahn, partner, spoke with three inspiring CEOs  on how their utilities are helping customers decarbonize, the impacts they are seeing, and pathways they are taking toward a clean energy future.

Patti Poppe, CEO, CMS Energy; Steve Malnight, CEO, Duquesne Light Company; and Maria Pope, CEO, Portland General Electric each shared their perspectives and tangible actions their companies are taking to meet their decarbonization goals and those of their customers.  

“It’s clear that the industry executives are shifting their thinking about what’s the most attractive business model longer term,” Vrins said. 

Southern Company on Helping Customers Decarbonize 


In the second part of PUF’s CEO series on utility decarbonization journeys, Dan Hahn, partner at Guidehouse, and Steve Mitnick of PUF, interviewed Kim Greene, CEO of Southern Company Gas about her efforts to help customers decarbonize.

During the interview, Greene discussed the tangible actions her company is taking to meet decarbonization and customers’ decarbonization goals, as well as the impacts, and the most promising paths to decarbonization for companies and customers.

Hahn appreciated Greene’s customer-centric focus and hopes readers will be inspired by her perspective.

“We hope you find the conversation interesting and meaningful as you think about how you are helping your customers decarbonize for the future,” he said.

Duke Energy on Decarbonizing and Customer-Centricity

In the third part of PUF’s CEO series on utility decarbonization journeys, Jan Vrins, leader of Guidehouse’s global Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure segment, joined PUF's Steve Mitnick, for a conversation with Doug Esamann, executive vice president – Energy Solutions at Duke Energy.

During the conversation, the group discussed decarbonization as a customer-centric strategy, the growing demand for sustainable products and services, and balancing the drive to decarbonize with the aspirations of ESG-focused investors. Esamann also shared his perspective on the most promising approaches to the future energy system.

“From a leadership standpoint, it’s imperative to create excitement about the future and doing things in a sustainable way and being part of it, that helps people get through the challenges that come with change,” Esamann said.

Avangrid on Decarbonization and Customers 


In the fourth part of PUF’s CEO series on utility decarbonization journeys, Dan Hahn, partner at Guidehouse, joined PUF's Steve Mitnick for a conversation with Dennis Arriola, CEO of Avangrid.

The group discussed how the customer-centric aspect of decarbonization is driving the agenda for many energy providers and what Avangrid is doing help its customers meet their goals. Arriola also shared details on how his company is advancing clean energy projects, why ESG initiatives are imperative, and where future investments will be focused.

“A successful company cares about its customers and does the right thing, invests in the communities, and gives them an opportunity to be part of that overall journey,” Arriola said.

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