Revenue recognition when or as
the entity satisfies a performance obligation
The obligation to purchase and sell electricity under a PPA generally will be viewed as a single performance obligation that is satisfied over time (when). A power and utilities entity will be required to measure its progress towards complete satisfaction of its performance obligation to deliver electricity. The objective, when measuring progress, is to depict the seller’s performance in transferring control of the electricity to the customer.
Arrangements to sell other commodities, including natural gas and physical capacity, over a contractual term, could be viewed as a single performance obligation. More judgement might be required to determine if such arrangements meet the definition of a performance obligation satisfied over time.
Different pricing conventions
Some types of sales contract are not impacted by price or volume variability but they do have different fixed pricing conventions (for example, prices per unit might be stated, but they might change over the life of the contract). Under a particular arrangement, the price per unit might step up over time, to reflect expected costs to produce or an expectation of increased market pricing over time. Alternatively, the prices might be different to reflect seasonal or time of day pricing (such as peak versus off-peak).
A contract with stated, but changing, prices for a fixed quantity delivered does not contain variable consideration, because the transaction price for the contract is known at inception and does not change. It is important for the power and utility entity to understand what is giving rise to the pricing convention. For example, the escalations might be intended to reflect the expected market price of power in the future periods which a customer would expect to pay.
The total transaction price should be recognised as revenue over time by measuring progress towards complete satisfaction of the performance obligation. The seller applies a permissible form of the ‘output’ or ‘input’ method.