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The WBA Electric Utilities Benchmark presents a ranking of 50 keystone electric utilities companies based on an overall assessment comprising three parts: a performance assessment, a narrative assessment, and a trend assessment. The overall assessment measures a company’s degree of alignment with the transition to a low-carbon economy. The performance assessment is composed of six modules, each containing performance indicators, which reflect the Assessing low Carbon Transition® (ACT) framework.

This framework proposes indicators used to develop sector-specific methodologies. The modules can have past, present or future orientation, and cover a company’s targets, material investment, intangible investment, management, policy engagement and business model shift. The ACT electric utilities methodology has been translated by the WBA to create this benchmark.

The performance of the 50 companies varied quite widely across the modules and indicators. It was observed that some companies with a strong performance overall are performing well against certain indicators, and yet are performing poorly against others.

Many of the companies were able to demonstrate that they had reduced emissions intensity from 2013 – 2018. However, the overall performance of the keystone electric utilities in this benchmark is compromised by generally poor performance in modules relating to targets setting and intangible (low-carbon R&D) investment that would reflect readiness for the low-carbon transition, as well as the indicator on locked-in carbon emissions. Each module ranking page contains more in-depth insight into companies’ performance.

The narrative score provides a holistic analysis of a company and rates the maturity of the companies’ low-carbon transition against four key criteria: business model and strategy; consistency and credibility; reputation; and risk (using RepRisk).

17 companies received an E (the lowest rating), 18 received a D, 6 received a C, 8 received a B and only the leading company in the benchmark, Ørsted, managed to achieve an A rating. This paints a clear picture that the majority of keystone electric utilities are not prepared for the rapid transition required to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.

Some notable findings were drawn:

  • Clear discrepancies exist between some companies’ climate rhetoric and the reality; for example, Korea Electric Power Company and NTPC’s plans to expand renewables were undermined by plans to significantly expand coal capacity as well;
  • Persistent environmental regulation violations and pollution of local ecosystems was a problem for some companies such as China Huaneng Group, Taiwan Power Company and NTPC. Korea Electric, Kansai Electric Power Company and Saudi Electric have all been involved in corruption and bribery cases, which may undermine the effectiveness of their climate governance. Coal has been a target for activists, both for its impact on local air quality and for its high carbon emissions. As a result, until they close their coal assets Uniper and RWE are likely to have a poor reputation on climate issues, which can undermine their climate credibility with their stakeholders, particularly consumers.
  • Companies with smaller generation capacity, E.ON and Ørsted, do have main business models that are likely to remain profitable in the low-carbon economy. However, 35 of the 50 keystone companies assessed derived over half of their electricity generation from fossil fuels in 2018.

The trend assessment saw 33 companies receiving a “-”, 12 receiving an “=” and only 5 receiving a “+”. Our first key finding provides more in-depth insight into these results.

Ranking overview

1 Ørsted
Total score 15.6 / 20
Narrative score A
Trend score
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2 ENGIE
Total score 11.7 / 20
Narrative score B
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3 EDP Energias de Portugal
Total score 11.8 / 20
Narrative score B
Trend score
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4 Iberdrola
Total score 11.7 / 20
Narrative score B
Trend score
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5 Électricité de France (EDF)
Total score 10.0 / 20
Narrative score B
Trend score
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6 SSE 
Total score 9.9 / 20
Narrative score B
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7 Vattenfall
Total score 10.5 / 20
Narrative score B
Trend score
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8 Xcel Energy
Total score 12.7 / 20
Narrative score C
Trend score
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9 E.ON
Total score 7.1 / 20
Narrative score B
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10 Enel
Total score 13.2 / 20
Narrative score C
Trend score
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11 AES Corporation
Total score 11.9 / 20
Narrative score C
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12 Exelon Corporation
Total score 5.3 / 20
Narrative score B
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13 CLP Holdings (中電集團)
Total score 9.7 / 20
Narrative score C
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14 Dominion Energy
Total score 11.1 / 20
Narrative score D
Trend score
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15 CEZ Group
Total score 10.0 / 20
Narrative score D
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16 Vistra Energy Corp
Total score 8.9 / 20
Narrative score D
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17 Eletrobras
Total score 5.8 / 20
Narrative score C
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18 Tohoku Electric Power
Total score 9.7 / 20
Narrative score D
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19 State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) (国家电力投资集团)
Total score 3.5 / 20
Narrative score C
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20 American Electric Power (AEP)
Total score 10.0 / 20
Narrative score D
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21 RWE
Total score 8.9 / 20
Narrative score D
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22 Kyushu Electric Power
Total score 9.4 / 20
Narrative score D
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23 Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO)
Total score 9.1 / 20
Narrative score D
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24 Southern Co
Total score 9.0 / 20
Narrative score D
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25 Uniper
Total score 7.3 / 20
Narrative score D
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26 Origin Energy
Total score 7.3 / 20
Narrative score D
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27 Duke Energy
Total score 11.0 / 20
Narrative score E
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28 Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN)
Total score 5.2 / 20
Narrative score D
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29 Tenaga Nasional
Total score 5.1 / 20
Narrative score D
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30 Chugoku Electric Power Company
Total score 6.0 / 20
Narrative score D
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31 EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg
Total score 5.8 / 20
Narrative score D
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32 Chubu Electric Power
Total score 5.6 / 20
Narrative score D
Trend score
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33 NextEra Energy
Total score 5.5 / 20
Narrative score D
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34 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)
Total score 4.5 / 20
Narrative score D
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35 Fortum
Total score 9.2 / 20
Narrative score E
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36 AGL Energy
Total score 7.0 / 20
Narrative score E
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37 Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)
Total score 6.1 / 20
Narrative score E
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38 Taiwan Power Company (台灣電力公司)
Total score 5.0 / 20
Narrative score E
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39 Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO/Hanjeon)
Total score 5.3 / 20
Narrative score E
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- NTPC
Total score 4.3 / 20
Narrative score E
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41 Eskom Holdings
Total score 4.9 / 20
Narrative score E
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42 Inter RAO
Total score 4.8 / 20
Narrative score E
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43 Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE)
Total score 3.6 / 20
Narrative score E
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44 China Three Gorges (中国长江三峡集团)
Total score 3.0 / 20
Narrative score E
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45 Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)
Total score 2.6 / 20
Narrative score E
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46 China Huaneng Group (中国华能集团)
Total score 1.6 / 20
Narrative score E
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47 China Datang Corp (中国大唐集团)
Total score 1.5 / 20
Narrative score E
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48 China Energy Investment Group (CHN Energy) (国家能源投资集团)
Total score 1.3 / 20
Narrative score E
Trend score
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49 China Huadian Corporation (中国华电集团)
Total score 1.1 / 20
Narrative score E
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50 Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC)
Total score 0.7 / 20
Narrative score E
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