UK Electricity Power Content Label

 

Information for consumers about the UK Electricity Power Content Label

Since the UK electricity system is open to competition, electricity supply companies can offer many different types of electricity tariffs from which UK consumers may choose. These electricity tariffs differ from one another in price, terms of service, and in how the electricity was generated. The actual electricity you receive will be identical regardless of which electricity supplier you choose - whether you stay with your incumbent supplier or transfer your electricity contract to a new supplier - but now you can choose which types of energy resources you support when you purchase electricity.

 

Article 3(6) of Directive 2003/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning Common Rules for the Internal Market in Electricity ("the Directive) obliges Member States to require each supplier to provide details to its customers of the mix of fuels in the electricity it supplies. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has stated that she intends to implement Article 3(6) requirement by way of a new supply licence condition introduced by means of regulations under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act.

 

Think of the power content label as a "nutrition label" for electricity. The power content label provides information about the energy resources used to generate electricity that is supplied into the power grid. Just as a nutrition label provides information you can use as you shop for food, the power content label provides information that can be useful as you shop for electricity.

 

What information does the power content label provide?

Electricity can be generated in a number of ways. It can come from renewable resources such as biomass and waste, geothermal heat or steam, solar energy, rivers or small hydroelectric reservoirs, and wind energy; or, it can be produced from resources such as coal, large hydroelectric reservoirs, natural gas, or nuclear fuels. The power content label describes the sources of electricity that is supplied into the National Grid. Each electricity supplier must display information about the energy resources represented by their contracts with electricity generators.

 

See below for a more detailed explanation of the information contained in the power content label Energylinx is using until such time as a UK standard is defined and agreed by all UK electricity suppliers.

 

Where and when will I see the power content label?

Since July 2004, Electricity Suppliers are required to include the power content label in all promotional material. Furthermore, your Electricity Supplier must send you an update with each bill you receive. In the case of pre-payment meter customers where only an annual statement is produced then the required is that you will be provided with the power content label at that time.

The power content label can be sent as a separate sheet so it may be that Electricity Suppliers do not actually print the power content label on the bill itself.

 

How do I know that the information is reliable?

A verification process is in place to minimise fraudulent claims. The provision of the power content label is a licence condition which is classed as a "relevant condition" under the Electricity Act 1989. This means that should a supplier provide information that is not prepared in accordance with the requirements of the licence condition, it will become an enforcement matter for the Gas and Electricity Markets authority.

 

Will my electricity be different?

Keep in mind that the actual electricity you use will be indistinguishable from the electricity used by your friends and neighbours. This is unavoidable because everyone is served through the same transmission and distribution system. The power content label cannot tell you about the electricity that you use in your home; instead, it tells you where your pounds are going.

 

If you purchase electricity generated using natural gas, for example, you are paying a natural gas-fired plant to generate electricity and to feed it into the main power grid. Since it is impossible to track the flow of electricity on the grid, however, there is no way to identify the actual power plant that produced the electricity you consume in your home. But it is possible to track the pounds you pay for electricity. Your electricity pounds will support electricity generation from various energy resources in the proportions listed on the power content label.

 

Just because you can't identify which power plant generated the electricity you consume doesn't mean that your choice doesn't make a difference. Your electricity choice does make a difference, because you decide what kinds of electricity are supplied into the electricity grid. Over the long term, your purchasing decisions will help determine what kinds of power plants are built to serve the UK 's electricity needs.

 

So what exactly does the power content label tell you?

Let's look at the sample label for Good Energy, shown below.

 

UK ENERGY CONTENT LABEL

Energy Resources

Good Energy*

UK Energy Mix**

(for comparison)

Eligible Renewable

100%

3%

- Biomass & Waste

 

 

- Geothermal

 

 

- Small hydroelectric

19%

 

- Solar

1%

 

- Wind

80%

 

Coal

 

34%

Large Hydroelectric

 

 

Natural Gas

 

38%

Nuclear

 

24%

Oil

 

1%

TOTAL

100%

100%

* based on information provided by the supplier to Energylinx as at 26.07.2004

** based on publicly available information available to 26.07.2004

For specific information about this electricity product, contact Good Energy. For general information about the UK Energy Content Label contact www.electricitylabels.co.uk

 

Energy Resources: This column lists the different energy resources that can be used to generate electricity. Renewable resources , as listed, include biomass and waste, geothermal, solar, small hydroelectric, and wind.

 

Good Energy: This column identifies the breakdown of power by energy resource for the electricity product you are considering. In this example, 100 percent comes from renewable resources, with 75 percent coming from wind power and 25% coming from small hydro-electric plants. Electricity suppliers do not have an obligation to provide any subdivision of any category so this example provides details of where a supplier is operating in a completely transparent manner.

 

If your Electricity Supplier is purchasing power from an Electricity Exchange or imported from an undertaking outside the Community, aggregate figures provided by the exchange or the undertaking in question over the preceding year may be used.

 

UK Energy Mix: This column allows you to compare the specific supplier, in this example Good Energy with the 2003 UK Power Mix . This information is provided as a reference point for you to evaluate electricity products. The information relates to the period 1 April to 31 March for the year noted.

 


 

UK Energy Mix

The UK Energy Mix reflects the energy resource mix for electricity consumed in UK net of electricity sold to consumers as specific purchases.

 

The information is published by the DTI annually on its website. The information is provided in tabular form and will include the residual mix percentages to attribute unaccounted-for electricity supplied to each of the energy source categories (i.e. electricity supplied that is not subject to certification or generator declarations) and the emission factors to be used in the calculation of environmental impact information.

 

Energy Resources

energywatch accredited - Tariffs endorsed by Greenpeace included - Guide to Green Electricity Tariffs used