Skip to main content

Understanding Non-Commodity Costs

In this business energy comparison guide, we will discuss what a non-commodity cost is and how understanding them can help you understand the UK energy market. Such as high electricity distribution costs, technical and commercial factors, Southern energy power distribution and more.

Business Energy Comparison Background - Blue
Utility bills on a table

Understanding the cost of goods sold and non-commodity costs is essential for any business. Non-commodity costs are those related to production and operations, such as labour, overhead, and materials. However, any non-commodity cost can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line and must be taken into consideration when calculating the total costs.

It will also allow you to better undertand your business energy bills as well as how the prices are rising due to the move to renewable energy.

What Is A Non-Commodity Cost?

These costs are charged to retail energy suppliers, who then charge this cost to their customers. Non-commodity costs are those that do not fall into the category of being a physical good or service.

They are typically indirect costs, which means they cannot be traced back to a specific cost object.

Indirect costs are also known as overhead costs. Examples of these costs include transportation and distribution charges.

Here are 4 of the main charges:

  1. TNUoS – Transmission Network Use of System
  2. DUoS – Distribution Use of System Charges
  3. BSUoS – Balancing Services Use of System
  4. Transmission and Distribution Losses

There is also a separate type of charge, which include Government Levies and Taxes. Here are the 4 main types:

  1. FIT – Feed-in Tariff
  2. RO – Renewables Obligation
  3. CFD FIT – Electricity Market Reform – Contracts for Difference
  4. CM – Capacity Market

In short, they are charges that are added to energy bills. These charges originate from the government.

What is an energy bill?

An energy bill is made up of two different charges.

One being a commodity cost and the other being a non-commodity cost.

This rate will usually be billed in a single rate for domestic bills. For commercial bills, they are separated. The question we need to ask ourselves is why energy bills are rising if the cost of energy is actually getting cheaper (also referred to as the falling wholesale energy costs).

Here’s a guide for your utility bill.

Business Energy comparison

Feed-in Tariff (FiT)

The UK’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme was designed to encourage the uptake of small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies.

The scheme provides a guaranteed payment for eligible generators for the electricity they produce, whether this is used on-site or exported to the grid. It was introduced in 2010, and is paid for by electricity consumers.

Renewables Obligation

The Renewables Obligation (RO) is the UK’s primary mechanism for supporting large-scale renewable electricity projects.

An example of a large-scale project is wind farms. The RO requires electricity suppliers to source a certain proportion of the electricity they sell from renewable sources. The RO was introduced back in 2002.

Capacity Market (CM)

The Capacity Market (CM) is a mechanism to ensure the system’s security of supply by providing adequate reserve margins.

It does this by providing an incentive for businesses to invest in new generation and/or demand-side response.

In the UK, the CM is operated by National Grid ESO and procures capacity on behalf of energy users.

Transmission Network Use of System – TNUoS

TNUoS, or Transmission Network Use of System, costs are non-commodity.

In England, Wales, Scotland, and offshore, this cost is paid to the National Grid for installing and maintaining the Transmission Network.

Distribution Use of System (DUoS)

This charge is in addition to the cost of the electricity you consume, and it’s for using the distribution network.

The charges are no longer calculated but rather a fixed price.

They are also paid to the area in which your meter is situated.

Balancing Services Use of System (BSUoS)

This cost is paid to the National Grid.

The charge is for keeping the network balanced (basically making sure there is enough electricity going around at any time).

Want to know why this cost is rising and will therefore affect your energy bill?

The cost of your energy bill will rise due to the big move to renewable energy sources.

The UK Government is making many steps towards the support of all renewable energy technologies.

Transmission and Distribution Losses

In short, this cost on your energy bill is for the loss of electricity that occurs when it travels the network.

AAHEDC, or Assistance for Areas with High Electricity Distribution Costs, is a non-commodity cost. It exists to recover the cost of providing energy to The North of Scotland.

Climate Change Levy (CCL)

The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is a tax on energy used by industry and commerce in the United Kingdom.

It was introduced in 2001 as part of the government’s strategy to combat climate change and is currently the UK’s main mechanism for promoting energy efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The aim is to reduce UK Carbon emissions by 80% in 2050.

Every April, each year, this specific charge is looked over and increased.

Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)

The CRC is a UK-wide scheme to incentivise energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions.

It places a duty on large businesses and public sector organisations to monitor and report their emissions and buy allowances in proportion to their emissions.

The cost of the allowances is passed on to customers through energy bills.

The CRC aims to:

  • Encourage large businesses and public sector organisations to become more energy efficient
  • Reduce carbon emissions
  • Raise awareness of how businesses can cut their emissions
  • Provide an incentive for businesses to invest in low-carbon technologies

Design Elements

The Benefits Of Managing Non-Commodity Costs

When it comes to managing your business’s costs, every little bit counts.

So while you may be focused on reducing your commodity costs, don’t forget about the other costs that can have a big impact on your bottom line: non-commodity costs.

Non-commodity costs are those that aren’t directly related to the production of your product or service.

They include things like marketing, shipping, and administrative expenses.

And while they may seem like a small part of your overall budget, they can actually have a big impact on your profitability.

That’s why it’s so important to get a handle on your non-commodity costs and find ways to reduce them where possible. Here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy by managing these costs effectively:

Improved profitability: When you keep your non-commodity costs under control, you leave more room in your budget for profits. This can be a big boost to your bottom line, especially if you’re in a highly competitive industry where margins are tight.

Greater cash flow: When you have more cash on hand, you can reinvest it back into the business or use it to take care of unexpected expenses without having to go into debt. This gives you a lot more financial flexibility and peace of mind.

Reduced stress levels: Trying to manage all aspects of your business can be incredibly stressful. But by streamlining your non-commodity costs, you can take some of that pressure off and focus on other areas of your business.

How to manage non-commodity costs

There are a variety of ways to manage non-commodity costs within your company.

One way is to develop a better understanding of where these costs come from. Another way is to work with vendors to find ways to reduce or eliminate these costs.

One way to develop a better understanding of your non-commodity costs is to track them over time.

This will help you identify patterns and trends that can be addressed. It can also help you benchmark your performance against similar companies.

Another way to manage your non-commodity costs is to work with vendors to find ways to reduce or eliminate these costs. This can be done through negotiations, contract reviews, and other methods.

Vendor management is an important part of cost management and can help you save money on non-commodity items.

Man with design element above her head stock image

How Non-Commodity Charges Affect Your Business

As a business owner, you are likely already aware of the many commodity charges that can affect your bottom line.

But did you know that there are also non-commodity charges that can have an impact on your business?

Non-commodity charges are those costs associated with the delivery of electricity that are not related to the actual price of the electricity itself.

These can include things like transmission and distribution fees, as well as other ancillary services.

While non-commodity charges may seem like a small thing, they can actually have a significant impact on your business.

For example, if you have a large commercial facility, the transmission and distribution fees alone could add up to thousands of dollars per month.

To make sure that you are fully aware of all the costs associated with your electricity service, be sure to ask your energy provider for a detailed breakdown of both commodity and non-commodity charges.

This will help you budget more accurately and avoid any surprises down the road.

Design Elements

Why Are Wholesale Energy Prices On The Rise?

Wholesale energy prices have risen in recent years due to a variety of factors, including increased demand, tight supply, and higher costs for fuel and other inputs.

Demand for electricity has been growing steadily in many parts of the world as economies expand and populations grow.

This increased demand has put upward pressure on prices.

In addition, the supply of electricity has not kept pace with this rising demand.

New power plants take time to build, and even when they come online, they may not be able to meet all of the additional demands.

This can lead to higher prices as utilities compete for scarce supplies of electricity in the wholesale market.

Finally, costs for fuel and other inputs used to generate electricity have risen in recent years. This is due to a variety of factors, such as higher oil and gas prices, stricter environmental regulations, and the need to upgrade ageing power plants.

These rising costs are often passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Will Rising Inflation Rates Impact Non-Commodity Costs?

As the world economy continues to globalise, the impact of inflation on non-commodity costs has become an increasingly important topic for businesses and consumers alike.

In general, inflation refers to a sustained increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy.

This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an increase in the cost of raw materials or wages or simply by an increase in demand for goods and services.

While inflation can have both positive and negative effects on an economy, it is generally considered to be detrimental to businesses and consumers.

This is because inflationary pressure often leads to higher prices for goods and services, which in turn reduces spending power and purchasing power.

In addition, inflation can also lead to higher interest rates, which can further reduce spending and investment.

There are a number of ways that businesses can try to mitigate the impact of inflation on their costs.

For example, they may hedge against inflation by entering into contracts that fix prices at current levels or by investing in assets that are expected to appreciate in value over time.

However, it is important to remember that hedging strategies are not guaranteed to protect against all of the risks associated with inflation.

Inflationary pressure is likely to continue to impact non-commodity costs in the future as the global economy slowly recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Design Elements


Non-commodity costs are a crucial component of any business, and understanding how to calculate them is essential for making smart decisions. Also, understanding the energy market, energy companies, the lack of control over the wholesale cost and the move towards renewable energy is crucial.

By taking the time to analyse these third-party costs on your energy bill, businesses can more accurately identify areas where they could be reducing expenses and increasing their profits.

With so many factors impacting non-commodity costs, it’s important to look at each cost individually in order to get a better picture of your overall operations and make informed decisions. Compare business energy suppliers and compare business gas prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is non-commodity?

Non-commodity charges come from outside suppliers (third parties), which are then passed on to energy providers and added to customers’ bills. These fees may also be referred to as pass-through costs.

What do commodity and non-commodity relate to?

The terms “commodity” and “non-commodity” are often used to describe different types of goods and services. A commodity is a good or service that is produced in large quantities and is interchangeable with other similar products.

Non-commodities, on the other hand, are goods or services that are not mass-produced and are not easily interchangeable with other products.

What are non-energy costs?

These are those associated with the delivery of electricity but not related to the commodity itself. In other words, non-energy charges make up your electric bill, but they’re not the actual cost of the electricity you use. These charges include: demand charges, customer service fees, power factor charges, and transmission and distribution (T&D) charges.

What is a commodity in electricity?

A commodity in electricity is a physical or virtual product that can be bought and sold. The most common commodities in electricity are energy, capacity, and ancillary services.