ERSE has a set of activities which are aimed to promote the participation of companies and consumers in the protection of the environment. The main activities are:
Promotion of Environmental Performance Plans (PPDA)
PPDAs are regulatory tools that are taken into account in the Tariff Code of the electricity and natural gas sectors, were designed to promote an improvement in the environmental performance of regulated companies who operate in these sectors. The existence of this type of incentives has the objective to ensure that the economic regulation which companies are subject to does not have negative effects on their environmental performance.
Companies subject to a maximum price regulation may be tempted to reduce investments in the network or in maintenance, with consequences that affect the quality of their service or environmental performance. To minimise this type of behaviour, complementary mechanisms are adopted, such as the PPDAs.
The PPDAs allow companies to have an advance appreciation of the costs of environmental protection, thereby having a perspective on its future acceptance in the tariffs. They also allow for a prior understanding between the company and regulator about the social responsibility of the company in environmental issues. The PPDAs also work as communication tools helping in the organising and focusing of activities of a given company in improving their environmental performance.
PPDA – Eight years balance – Electricity and natural gas sectors 2002-2009, July 2010 (portuguese version)
Labelling of Electricity
All electricity suppliers must include in their invoices information on the origin of the electricity acquired and sold to their customers (mix) and the environmental impacts associated with the supply of this electricity.
The purpose of such labelling is to inform consumers about this product, making them more aware of the primary energy resources used in the production of electricity and environmental impacts associated with the supply. Therefore, the clients are held responsible for their choice of consumption. It also allows for a differentiation between suppliers, encouraging competition in the retail market.
ERSE has prepared a document (link) about principles and good practices containing a set of guidelines, considered to be the minimum necessary to guarantee not only that labelling provides information which is credible and transparent, but also that the label itself is presented to the client in a way which is understandable and can be taken into consideration.
ERSE also has a simulator which allows consumers to check the emissions arising from their electricity consumption and compare them with other typical situations.
ERSE monitors the environmental policy and impacts associated with the electricity and natural gas sectors. The energy sector has a very close relationship with economic activities and with social and environmental factors.
The main impacts of the electricity and natural gas sectors are the climate changes arising from the emission of greenhouse gases, and acidification and eutrophication caused by the emission of acidifying gases and consequent depositing of these composites and their products.
In the specific case of the natural gas sector, it is in the consumption phase (the phases related to extraction and transport from its place of origin are not considered) that the natural gas sector produces the greatest environmental impacts, specifically in terms of climate change.
Note however, that the use of Natural Gas in substitution of other fuels allows atmospheric emissions to be reduced.
Special Regime Production (PRE)
ERSE monitors issues related to the promotion of electricity production using renewable endogenous resources or technologies which produce both heat and electricity.
The Government is responsible for the energy policy in Portugal, through the General Directorate for Energy and Geology (DGEG).
However, in the scope of special regime production, there are some responsibilities shared between DGEG and ERSE, namely by considering the additional costs from the PRE in the electricity tariffs posted by ERSE.
Through this, ERSE monitors and publishes Monthly Information on Special Regime Production (portuguese version).