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Research - SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

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Report: U.S. utilities not adequately prepared for extreme weather events of the future

by Kali Persall

As the risks of acute, extreme weather events arise, U.S. utilities will need to step up their efforts in order to minimize their exposure to physical climate risks, according to a new report from S&P Global Ratings.

Wildfires, storms and water stress are the most material climate hazards facing 24 S&P-rated investor-owned U.S. utilities in the next 30 years, according to S&P’s latest report, Keeping the Lights On: U.S. Utilities’ Exposure to Physical Climate Risks. According to the report, five of the country's worst natural disasters have occurred since 2005, totaling $523 billion in inflation-adjusted damage. Another 22 major disasters hit the United States in 2020, causing more than $1 billion in damages and surpassing the previous annual record of major disasters by six.

Projections suggest all U.S. regions will be affected by climate change to some degree, with impacts varying by geographic location and time, as average temperatures incre

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