Over our 25 year history at Elmhurst Energy Consultancy, when discussing mandatory schemes such as ESOS and Carbon Reporting, there is one question we get asked more than any other… Are these schemes actually policed and enforced?
This question comes from the position of organisation risk analysis, with decision makers wanting to find out whether their investment in partaking in the schemes will avoid the company receiving definite fines, or whether, as with some previous schemes, enforcement is overlooked and companies can be left feeling that the investment was merely a financial and administrative burden. Likewise, if fines are enforced, organisations are interested in whether such fines supersede the cost of complying in the scheme, and if not, many companies who are yet to realise the benefits of reducing energy use and improving energy efficiency, and still see these schemes as tick box exercises, struggle to understand why they should comply at all.
As Phase 2 is now underway, and the Environment Agency want to stress the importance of qualifying organisations needing to comply with ESOS, they have released information on how many companies were non-compliant with Phase 1 (2014-2015), and how many civil penalties have been issued as a result. The Environment Agency confirmed that, as of August 2018, 712 enforcement notices had been issued. This figure includes those who haven’t completed any work towards their ESOS compliance, or those who have completed the work but failed to notify the Environment Agency. Following the enforcement notice, many were able to prove their compliance but 27 companies were not, and have subsequently been issued with civil penalties up to the value of £45,000.
Many organisations who complied with Phase 1, have realised many financial benefits from implementing the recommendations for energy saving and improving energy efficiency, so have been proactive with starting phase 2 well in advance of the deadline of 5th December 2019. Many of the companies we have worked with for Phase 1 and are now working with again for Phase 2 have been most impressed by the impact of tackling what is known as the ‘low hanging fruit’ – those no or low cost improvements, that require very little investment but have the capacity to make big differences to energy use and expenditure on energy. Companies have recorded savings in excess of £130,000 from changing to LED lighting, and reducing energy use by almost 1/3 by creating energy champions who educate the workforce in reducing energy use in the workplace through turning off equipment, and lighting, and making use of natural cross ventilation.
With just over 9 months to go until the deadline for Phase 2, we would like to second the Environment Agency in reinforcing how important compliance with ESOS is, and the many benefits the scheme can bring. The name ‘Energy Savings OPPORTUNITIES scheme’ should be seen as simply as that – a big opportunity to make energy and cost savings.
To find out more about how our expert Lead Assessors and Consultants can help your business to comply with ESOS Phase 2, please visit our website or call us on 01455 883 259.
Article published 26th February