Chris Bennett, managing director at SCS-RE, a sustainability and energy management consultancy partnering with Planet First to support organisations on ESOS compliance, explains the implications of the Environment Agency's latest update on ESOS.
The December 5 deadline for notifying the Environment Agency (EA) that you have to comply with the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) has been known for some time now. But this month, the EA quietly updated its compliance guidance for ESOS, saying it was “not normally expecting to take enforcement action for late notification provided it is received by 29 January 2016”.
So what does this mean?
The first thing to note is that this is not an extension to the December 5 deadline, which is a legal deadline set in the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. The EA, however, says, the new guidance “reflects its ability to exercise discretion when taking enforcement action.”
The second point to make is that this leniency has also been applied to achieving ISO 50001 certification, which is a route to compliance, with an extension given to June 30 2016.
In addition, even where enforcement notices are applied, there will be a three-month window to comply, with penalties being served only in the most serious cases.
This action should not be surprising. Issuing penalties will distract potential funds away from investment in energy efficiency measures which would be counter-productive.
Can you afford to delay?
The short answer is no. The EA has stated that if an organisation is not going to meet the December 5 deadline, as a minimum a lead assessor should have been appointed and notification of non-compliance through the on line portal will be necessary, explaining why compliance has not been achieved. So for those who have made little progress to date, there is still little time to get to where you need to be.
What is ESOS?
The intent of ESOS is to reduce energy and hence carbon emissions by providing visibility to senior decision-makers of opportunities to reduce energy costs in their organisations.
It applies to:
• Organisations with 250 or more staff, or
• annual turnover exceeding €50 million (and a balance sheet of €43 million).
- measure their energy use for a continuous 12-month period and undertake energy assessments, which meet the scheme requirements
• appoint a lead assessor to check that the assessment meets legal requirements.
More than 10,000 organisations are believed to be obligated to comply with ESOS, but many are still not out of the starting blocks.
How can we help?
SCS are experts in undertaking energy efficiency audits and implementing energy efficiency programmes leading to substantial reductions in energy usage and associated costs. We offer a range of practical solutions to ensure you fully comply with ESOS, including:
• Providing you with the required Lead Assessor
• Helping you integrate ESOS into your current energy and sustainability strategy
• Implementing ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard across your organisation
• Storing your assessment records in our energy and environmental management software (SIERA).
Why are we partnering with Planet First?
The Planet Mark sustainability certification, delivered by Planet First in association with the Eden Project, adds significant value to ESOS audits by embracing broader environmental impacts including energy, waste and water. Providing practical toolkits to monitor and reduce the related carbon emissions, The Planet Mark programme encourages employee participation, strengthens a business’s brand and reputation and demonstrates to its stakeholders a credible and long-term commitment to sustainability.