IFRS 15 Power purchase agreement
It is common for customer contracts within the power and utilities industry to contain multiple performance obligations. It is essential that power and utilities entities evaluate their portfolio of customer contracts in order to identify explicit and implicit promises to transfer a distinct good or service to a customer.
A promise to transfer a series of distinct goods that are substantially the same and that have the same pattern of transfer to the customer is a performance obligation known as a ‘series’. Contracts for the sale of electricity, and many contracts for the sale of gas to residential and small commercial and industry clients, would represent such a promise.
Sometimes, two products (such as gas and electricity) are sold together. Where multiple products are sold simultaneously, generally:
- Gas and electricity are distinct, because (a) a customer can benefit from either gas or electricity on its own (that is, the customer can sell gas and electricity, on a stand-alone basis, into the marketplace, etc.), and (b) the promise to transfer gas or electricity is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract.
- The performance obligation to deliver gas and electricity, in many cases, is satisfied over time, since the customer simultaneously receives and consumes the benefits provided by the entity’s performance as the entity performs. This conclusion might not be applicable for gas or other commodity contracts, where the customer has storage facilities and does not consume the benefits of the commodity immediately as it is delivered.
- Each delivery of gas or electricity in the series, that the entity promises to transfer to the customer, meets the criteria to be a performance obligation satisfied over time, and the same method will be used to measure the entity’s progress towards complete satisfaction of the performance obligation to transfer each distinct delivery of gas or electricity in the series to the customer.
Judgement is required to identify performance obligations in power and utilities contracts. In some jurisdictions, distribution and energy might be distinct performance obligations; while, in others, energy and distribution might be a single integrated performance obligation. This will depend on a number of factors, including whether the customer can choose amongst retailers and the relationships between the providers of distribution, the retailer and the end customer.