Two companies serving divergent sectors of the energy market are Utilita and Scottish Power.
Utilita started business in 2003 with the aim of changing the way gas and electricity are supplied to prepayment customers, and to date have installed over 30,000 smart meters. In contrast, Scottish Power is one of the big six UK power companies, providing 5.6 million UK domestic customers with gas and electricity.
More about Utilita
The focus of Utilita is addressing fuel poverty through smart solutions to prepayment. The company aims to achieve this through working closely with housing associations and housing projects, emphasising the provision of clear information to customers. The company is committed to maintaining competitive tariffs while developing new, user friendly ways to pre-pay.
They do encourage effective use of energy through smart payment, so promoting energy efficiency as a means to tackling fuel poverty. Beyond encouraging customers to be energy efficient the company have no stated environmental policy – they say ‘we may not be able to do much to solve the problems of global warming’. Their power is sourced largely from coal and gas with a small percentage of nuclear and 12% from renewables – below the UK average.
More about Scottish Power
Scottish Powers’ Spanish parent company Iberdrola is a leading developer of wind power. In the UK, Scottish Power is very active in onshore wind farm development with over 30 consented windfarm projects underway across the UK – 20 of which are in Scotland. Offshore wind projects include West Duddon off the Cumbria coast and a major development in the North Sea off East Anglia. The company is also undertaking research into the potential for wave and tidal energy
For these two companies the most recent data available on fuel mix and pollution output is for 2013 – 2014.
Fuel Mix April 2013 – March 2014
|Fuel type %||Utilita||Scottish Power||UK average|
Pollutant emissions from power generation April 2013 – March 2014
|Pollutant||Utilita||Scottish Power||UK average|
|Carbon dioxide||582 grams per KWh||540 grams per KWh||368 g per KWh|
|Radioactive waste||0.00070 grams per KWh||0.00064 grams per KWh||0.00155 grams per KWh|
Even though Scottish Power are sourcing a relatively high proportion of their power from renewables they still rely heavily on coal. However with the recent closure – in March 2016 – of the Longannet power coal fired electricity generation in Scotland ceased. Given Scottish Power’s ongoing commitment to developing wind, wave and tidal power, carbon dioxide emitted from power they supply should reduce. Unless you’re strongly opposed to windfarms, the company displays a commitment to tackling global warming through future renewable generation.
Power sourced by Utilitia in 2013 – 2014 averaged 582 grams CO2 per KWh.
The emphasis of the company is on providing value for money for prepayment customers, rather than tackling global warming. While their focus on helping their customers use energy efficiently and addressing fuel poverty is praiseworthy, they don’t indicate any strong commitment to environmental sustainability.