We are responsible for the operation of the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP - formerly the Energy Efficiency Levy). We also have statutory responsibility for three renewable schemes: the Climate Change Levy (CCL) scheme, the Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation (NIRO) and also the issuance of Renewable Guarantees of Origin Certificates (REGOs – used for Fuel Mix Disclosure purposes). Both the NIRO and REGO schemes are operated via an agency services agreement with OFGEM.
The Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation
The Utility Regulator has statutory responsibility for the Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation (NIRO). It is an environmental scheme to encourage the use of renewable electricity in Northern Ireland.
The NIRO is managed by the Utility Regulator although administered by our sister organisation OFGEM, via an agency services agreement between both parties. More information on how to apply for accreditation, annual reports or information on the NIRO scheme can be found on Ofgem’s website.
The Climate Change Levy Exemption Scheme
The Utility Regulator manages and administers the Climate Change Levy (CCL) scheme, issuing Levy Exemption Certificates to accredited generators in the island of Ireland. The CCL is a tax on energy used by businesses. It was announced in the March 1999 budget and implemented on 1 April 2001.
In Budget 2015 (8th July 2015) the Government announced its intention to withdraw the exemption from the CCL for renewable electricity from 1 August 2015.
This change means that the Utility Regulator has not issued levy exemption certificates (LECs) for electricity generated by renewable technology stations after 31 July 2015.
For more information on CCL please visit the HM Revenue and Customs website.
Renewable Guarantees of Origin
The Utility Regulator also issues Renewable Guarantees of Origin Certificates (REGOs), via an agency services agreement with OFGEM. The REGOs are used for fuel mix disclosure purposes.
Fuel Mix Disclosure
Under Article 3(6) of the Electricity Directive (2003/54/EC), the Utility Regulator is required to ensure that all suppliers provide reliable information on bills and promotional materials sent to customers regarding the contribution of each energy source to their fuel mix and the associated environmental impacts over the relevant year.
The Utility Regulator publishes an annual report on fuel-mixes and CO2 emissions factors for suppliers licensed in Northern Ireland and operating in the SEM as calculated in accordance with SEM-09-081 Interim Arrangements: Fuel Mix Disclosure in the SEM.
Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (formerly the Energy Efficiency Levy)
Regulatory energy efficiency programmes have been running successfully in Northern Ireland since 1997/98 when the then Office for the Regulation of Electricity and Gas (now the Utility Regulator) introduced the Energy Efficiency Levy Programme (EEL).
As initially conceived, the EEL was introduced to implement energy efficiency schemes for domestic consumers with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. However, with the eradication of fuel poverty steadily moving up the ladder of government priorities, and as a result of a consultative process in Northern Ireland, it was decided that the majority of levy funding (80%) would be targeted at helping to alleviate fuel poverty by improving poorly heated and inadequately insulated properties. The remaining 20% is available for energy efficiency and emission reducing projects in the domestic and business sectors.
The Utility Regulator conducted a review of the EEL in August 2008 and published its decision paper in March 2009.
2009/10 was the last year of the EEL, as from 2010/11 it became known as the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP). The main features of the EEL remain but changes that were introduced included:
* allowing innovative and renewable technology schemes to be included in the bids for funding;
* opening up the right to bid to organisations other than licensed electricity suppliers (in a phased approach); and
* revising the target setting and incentives mechanism.