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