Businesses who fall under the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) have been given additional time to submit their energy usage audits to the scheme’s regulator.
ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK that are large enough to meet the qualification criteria. 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. The scheme is designed to encourage UK businesses to reduce their energy consumption with the triple benefit of saving money, increasing energy security and cutting carbon emissions.
The 10,000 companies believed to fall under the scheme have had since July 2014 to supply their details by the 5 December 2015 deadline imposed by the European Energy Efficiency Directive. While this date cannot be amended, the Environment Agency (EA) has been able to use its power as the scheme’s regulator to “waive or modify” enforcement action and penalties relating to non-compliance. Businesses will therefore have until January 29 to submit their energy audits, provided they submit an ‘intent to comply’ form from the EA’s website by the original date of 5 December.
Organisations unable to comply by this date must inform the EA via an online portal, detailing why they have been unable to comply and when they will notify.
Pete Wilton, senior communications specialist for the EA, said: “Essentially what we’ve done is use our discretion as a regulator to say we would not normally look to take action against firms that submit to us their compliance notification by the 29 January. As long as they notify us before 5 December that they are going to be late, they then have that additional time to get their submissions in to us.
“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.”
According to figures released on November 16, 1,598 organisations had notified the EA that they are compliant.
ESOS is also set to become part of the Treasury’s plans for business energy efficiency taxation in 2016. Under proposals announced at the end of September, the government plans to create a new system where organisations face a one tax and one reporting scheme. The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) the Climate Change Levy (CCL) and Climate Change Agreements (CCA) will be abolished, with a new single framework for tax and reporting to be built through ESOS.
The switch to an ESOS-based framework is part of the Government’s commitment to meet environmental and climate change targets ‘cost-effectively’ and without ‘unnecessary burdens’ on businesses. This change is intended to streamline policy, lessen red tape and provide simpler taxation and cost savings.