Mind the ESOS Gap
Companies will be given until 30 June 2016 to achieve compliance through certification to ISO 50001. Book your ISO 50001 audit today if you would like to achieve certification by June 2016.
Companies failing to meet the deadline for a new energy efficiency regulation will not face sanctions till the end of January, the Environment Agency has said.
The move was contained in revised compliance guidelines for the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) published yesterday.
The official deadline for compliance is 5 December, but there have been calls for this to be extended due to the slow start to meet the regulation by companies covered by the scheme. In August, just 85 of the more than 7,000 companies eligible had completed an assessment and notified the agency.
Prevent enforcement action
The change is not an extension to the legal deadline, the regulator stressed. “Rather, it reflects the ability to exercise discretion when taking enforcement action.”
Companies that cannot meet the 5 December date must inform the agency of this by the original deadline, explaining why compliance has not been possible and providing evidence of efforts towards compliance, including proof it had appointed an independent assessor.
“Evidence of efforts made towards compliance prior to the deadline will be taken into account in considering any enforcement action,” the guidelines state.
Companies can meet the regulation by becoming certified under the international energy management standard, ISO 50001.
Firms have until 30 June 2016 to achieve certification, according to the document. A free ESOS Gap Guide is available to all ESOS affected Organizations who already have an ISO 14001 system in place, to help them meet requirements for compliance more quickly.
Assess damage potential
Companies not carrying out an energy audit could be fined up to £50,000, with an additional £500 for each working day they do not comply for a maximum of 80 days while false or misleading statements will lead to fixed penalties of up to £50,000. Failing to notify the agency of energy use incurs a fine of up to £5,000, as will failing to maintain records.
However, the agency said it would issue fines in “only in the most severe cases” and would use enforcement notices to encourage firms to comply.
“The regulators are aware that there may be instances where Organizations that qualify for ESOS are unable to complete an ESOS compliant assessment by 5 December 2015. There may also be cases where lead assessors are asked to take on work they do not believe they can deliver by this date,” the document states.
Book your audit
ESOS requires all companies with over 250 employees or a turnover of at least €50 million and a balance sheet exceeding €43 million to review their energy consumption and submit audited reports to the agency.
Book your ISO 50001 audit today if you would like to achieve certification by June 2016.
Catherine Early is deputy editor of the environmentalist.
She has covered energy and environmental issues for over ten years, including for the ENDS Report, Planning magazine and Windpower Monthly.