When looking for a way to communicate how it was meeting its promise to source low-carbon electricity to its customers, EDF Energy plc approached PwC to deliver straightforward assurance reporting.
EDF Energy appreciates the benefits of nuclear power and it wants its customers to do likewise. Harnessed safely, nuclear power makes a positive contribution to the UK and the world at large, says Simone Rossi, CFO at EDF Energy. She believes that as part of a diversified energy mix, nuclear will ensure that society continues to benefit from affordable, secure, low-carbon energy.
The more people understand and engage with the source of their electricity the more they will become aware of the carbon contribution and the choices that they are making in determining the future energy mix through electricity generators and suppliers,& he adds.
The range of Blue products from EDF Energy has tariffs based on low-carbon generation sourced from its nuclear power stations and these are backed by a promise that EDF Energy will match electricity supplied to its customers with the levels of electricity sourced from nuclear generation. But as the processes that underpin these products are complex, EDF Energy wanted to ensure that the Blue offer was transparent.
This called for rigorous assessment of the associated procedures and management controls, and the delivery of straightforward assurance reporting that would be easy for EDF Energy’s Blue customers to access and understand.
EDF Energy chose the accountants PwC to bring this assurance to life. PwC has extensive experience of electricity industry processes and working with energy suppliers, and of providing assurance advice.
The PwC UK performance assurance leader, Richard Porter, and his team spent 12 months working with marketing, operational and legal teams at EDF Energy to create the vision of how the assurance would work and how it would be shared with customers on the EDF Energy website.
Public trust in the energy industry has been diminished by price rises and investigations into market practices, so as Andy Sinclair, a risk assurance senior manager at PwC says: ‘It is really exciting that a major energy supplier sees the potential for assurance to build trust with their customers.
PwC delivered the assurance using the framework provided by the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3000) and the ICAEW Code of Ethics.
The following assertions were subject to independent assurance:
PwC planned and performed the following procedures to obtain the evidence it considered necessary to reach its assurance conclusion on the assertions above:
The procedures did not include testing the operating effectiveness of the controls stated in the description and PwC did not an express an opinion on these.
PwC’s work guided EDF Energy’s ‘Management Assertion’ report on its offering to Large Business Blue customers (to match supplied volumes to nuclear generated volumes) for the year ending 31 March 2012.
The EDF Energy Management Assertion report also included details on the key control objectives and assessment criteria and how these support the commitment to customers.
Sid Cox, B2B director, comments: ‘The Blue initiative is all about making nuclear power simpler and easier to engage with, but the processes underpinning these products are extremely innovative and complex.
For that reason the role of the external assurance provided by PwC, in simply conveying the rigour with which the products are delivered, was a critical component of the work and has played an important role in its success.
|Main assurance services available to organisations not subject to a statutory audit:|
|Voluntary audit engagement|
This page is part of ICAEW’s online assurance resource, which replaces the Assurance Sourcebook.