The Environment Agency (EA) has published the names of just under 6,000 firms who were able to comply with the Energy Savings Obligation Scheme (ESOS) in time for last month’s deadline, leaving thousands still unaccounted for.
Around 60% (5,939) of the companies believed to be eligible under the mandatory energy assessment scheme have been included, with a significant proportion of UK businesses facing possible enforcement action by the EA, which acts as the scheme’s regulator.
This marks a noticeable drop from the 70% estimated by the EA earlier this month, suggesting the regulator will have its work cut out tracking down firms that have yet to comply.
According to the list, which includes dates for when firms made their submissions to the scheme, around a third (1,735) submitted their ESOS compliance data in January, with 1,363 waiting until the final working week of the deadline period. Over 600 firms made there submissions on its final day on 29 January.
If not for the EA’s decision to waive enforcement action for those not meeting the original deadline on 5 December, these firms would have likely faced possible punishment.
Interestingly, 12 firms who did not qualify for ESOS due to either their small size or turnover figures signed up to the scheme anyway to “show our commitment to saving energy”.
Despite the majority of firms assumed to fall under ESOS – EA has estimated around 10,000, although this cannot be confirmed – falling in line with the scheme, only 4,529 used 12 months of verifiable data for their ESOS energy audits. More than 800 failed to do this and will have had to explain to the EA why this was the case during their submissions.
The EA has yet to publish details of non-compliant firms, but has likely already begun to pursue enforcement action against them. Notices are the preferred route although penalties and fines could follow if eligible companies continue to fail to fall in line with the scheme.
The EA has also explained that they will be investigating any incidences of firms who submitted notifications of compliance but have provided non-compliant information. Nine organisations, including the Energy Institute and Association of Energy Engineers, admitted their lead assessors failed to determine that their assessments met the requirements of ESOS. These instances will be addressed in compliance auditing over the next four years.