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Thousands of firms miss ESOS deadline

The EA says firms covered by ESOS could save £250m a year by reducing their energy usage

The EA says firms covered by ESOS could save £250m a year by reducing their energy usage

Around two thirds of the 10,000 companies eligible for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) have complied within the deadline, leaving more than 3,000 yet to contact the scheme’s regulator.

According to the Environment Agency (EA), circa 4,000 businesses that fall under the mandatory energy assessment scheme provided notifications of compliance by Saturday 5 December. An additional 2,500 took advantage of the recently extended deadline by providing notifications of intent to comply.

While the December deadline could not be changed due to it being imposed by the European Energy Efficiency Directive, the EA chose to waive enforcement action and penalties against firms provided they supplied an intent to comply notification. These businesses how have until 29 January 2016 to submit their energy audits.

Of those that intend to comply late, 87% believe they will be compliant by 29 January 2016, taking the compliance figure to 6,000 by that date. According to the EA, less than 100 companies are awaiting ISO50001 certification, with 75% of these expecting to be compliant by the extended date. The remaining 25% will have until 30 June 2016 to attain certification.

Jo Scully, project manager for ESOS at the EA, said: “We are pleased that around 70% of expected participant organisations have either complied or intend to comply with ESOS and we’ve had some good feedback on the benefits that compliance can bring. Of course we’d have liked all organisations to be compliant by 5 December but we believe that the vast majority of organisations are both aware of their responsibilities and intend to comply.

As of 16 November only 1,598 organisations had notified the EA that they were compliant, meaning thousands of admissions required processing in the weeks since.

Scully added: “We’d like to thank everyone who has complied for all their hard work on a scheme that stands to benefit both UK businesses and the environment.”

ESOS applies to any large UK company that either employs 250 or more people, or has an annual turnover in excess of €50 million (£38,937,777), and an annual balance sheet total in excess of €43 million (£33,486,489). Overseas companies with a UK registered establishment which has 250 or more UK employees (paying income tax in the UK) also fall under the scheme. Those that qualify must carry out ESOS assessments every four years, auditing the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport in order to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.

Any organisation covered by the scheme that submits a notification of compliance after 29 January 2016 risks enforcement action.

Scully added: “It will take time to process the notifications but we plan to write to all organisations we have not heard from, but that we believe qualify, to remind them of the need to implement the scheme, its benefits, and the risk of enforcement action against non-compliance. Organisations that receive one of these letters but do not believe that they qualify are asked to let us know so we can remove them from our list of organisations needing to come into compliance.”

Speaking to Clean Energy News last month, Pete Wilton, senior communications specialist for the EA, said: “If people don’t tell us anything at all, that is not a good thing, it will be noticed and we will be following up with those organisations we believe comply.”