What fuels your electricity?

Why it is becoming important to understand your electricity supplier’s fuel mix.

When you contract an electricity supplier to power your small business, you’re normally concerned about two things:

  • Getting reliable electricity
  • Making monthly savings

But have you ever thought about your supplier’s fuel mix?

This may have never crossed you mind. However, an increasing number of consumers now pay attention to how their electricity is generated. In particular, consumers now consider the impact made on the environment. Your choice of electricity supplier may indicate how you want your electricity sourced.

In this guide, we will discuss what is fuel mix, how and why it is disclosed, and its implications on you as a consumer. We’ll then break down which energy sources suppliers primarily use to generate your electricity.

What is fuel mix?

Fuel mix is the ratio of different fuels and energy sources that is used to generate electricity.

Electricity suppliers will often use a mix of different energy sources – gas, nuclear, coal and renewables – to produce the electricity at their power stations that is then pumped into your small business’ premises.

How and why is it disclosed?

Your electricity supplier is obligated to disclose their fuel mix to the public. This is a requirement enacted by the Electricity (Fuel Mix Disclosure) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No. 391).

The impact of these fuels on the environment must also be published, typically recorded in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each kilo watt hour (kWh).

Fuel mixes are calculated as a percentage. Resources such as ElectricityInfo.org or the UK Government provide yearly disclosures on their websites.

Why does it matter?

Understanding how your electricity supplier provides your business with energy is important because real-time events can impact the production of your electricity.

For example, environmental changes could affect the output of electricity for some suppliers. Reduced supply of renewables require wind- and solar-reliant suppliers to compensate the lack of output with fossil fuels, affecting Britain’s net-zero emissions targets. Current events like the Suez Canal blockage in late March 2021 greatly affected the UK’s gas supply mix at that time.

Of course, nature is an unpredictable phenomenon. However, you can be prepared for changes in energy production by keeping tabs on industry news. Being aware of your business electricity generation has implications on how you get and pay for the energy. Understanding and anticipating changes in the industry may help inform your decision on which supplier to choose.

Average UK fuel mix

The table below shows the disclosed averages of fuel mix for all electricity suppliers as of March 2020, as reported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy.

Natural gasNuclearRenewablesCoalOther
39.4 percent16.6 percent37.9 percent3.9 percent2.2 percent

What fuels fuel your electricity supplier?

The fuel mix figures reported below were sourced from each of the energy suppliers’ disclosures, published on their websites.

Gas

Several companies rely on gas to produce electricity for their customers. Utilita, Yorkshire Gas & Power and Yü Energy use just over 70 percent of gas in their fuel mix. Scottish Power, npower, Corona Energy, Total Gas & Power, Engie and SSE also use gas, ranging from 40–70 percent.

A bar graph showing how much gas by percentage energy suppliers use in their fuel mix to generate electricity. Several companies use more than 50 percent of gas. These numbers are disclosed by all energy suppliers in 2020.

Nuclear

By far the leader in using nuclear resources for their fuel mix is EDF Energy. Two-thirds of their fuel come from nuclear, with renewables complementing most of the final third. British Gas Lite use 24 percent nuclear energy.

A bar graph showing how much nuclear power by percentage energy suppliers use in their fuel mix to generate electricity. EDF Energy use 66 percent of nuclear energy in their fuel. These numbers are disclosed by all energy suppliers in 2020.

Renewables

With renewables coming to the forefront in recent years, there is little surprise that many electricity suppliers across the UK push to be predominantly renewable-reliant.

Good Energy, Clear Business Energy, Pozitive Energy, Haven Power and United Gas & Power disclose that they use 100 percent renewable energy to produce electricity.

There are a handful of other electricity suppliers whose fuel mixes mostly include renewables. SmartestEnergy, HUB Energy, British Gas Lite, Engie and Total Gas & Power use a healthy mix of renewables – 91, 89, 76, 44 and 32 percent, respectively.

A bar graph showing how much renewable sources by percentage energy suppliers use in their fuel mix to generate electricity. Six companies use 100 percent renewables. These numbers are disclosed by all energy suppliers in 2020.

Coal

With the UK national average use of coal lying below 4 percent (a huge drop from 70 percent in 1990), it is difficult to find electricity suppliers who use a significant amount of coal in their fuel mix. Utilita, npower, Engie, Scottish Power and SSE are the only companies who use an above-average percentage of the fossil fuel in their fuel mix. Utilita disclosed that they use 6.3 percent coal.

The UK plans to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025.

A bar graph showing how much coal by percentage energy suppliers use in their fuel mix to generate electricity. The highest percentage is 6.3 percent. These numbers are disclosed by all energy suppliers in 2020.

Other

Resources classified as “other” refer to other renewable sources such as biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal and tidal.

A bar graph showing how much other renewable resources by percentage energy suppliers use in their fuel mix to generate electricity. The UK average is 2.2 percent. These numbers are disclosed by all energy suppliers in 2020.

Energy suppliers listed towards the end alphabetically are leaders in using “other” renewable energy sources. Yorkshire Gas & Power, Yü Energy and Utilita each use over 5 percent of other resources in their fuel mix. Corona Energy, E.ON, Scottish Power and Total Gas & Power have between 4–4.9 percentage. The national average is 2.2.

Compare energy quotes now

Ultimately, your choice of electricity supplier comes down to who will save you the most money while providing the best service for your small business. However, it is good to consider how your electricity supplier produces their electricity. You can find more information about your energy suppliers on our Energy Suppliers Directory page, where you can tell the page to show you green suppliers only.

If you’re ready to start saving on your business energy costs, visit BusinessEnergyQuotes.com.

To start comparing and shopping for the best business energy quotes, all you need to do is enter your postcode and current contract end date into BusinessEnergyQuotes.com. Our site will deliver a comprehensive list of deals for you to consider. Our team handles the switching administration on your behalf, saving you money and letting you get back to business.

For your hassle-free Business Energy Quote, go to BusinessEnergyQuotes.com

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