The Environment Agency is facing the anticipated last minute surge of Esos processing in the last few days before the 5 December deadline. But the effective extension and soft line approach to enforcement appears to have averted an all out stampede.
A spokesperson told The Energyst that the agency was “busy processing notifications and supporting participants as the deadline approaches” so would not be updating the compliance figure this week. But he confirmed that as of Friday (27 November) 1,682 organisations had notified it of compliance, with a further 543 organisations telling the EA they intend to comply by the 29 January, the effective extension date announced by the Agency in October.
As widely anticipated, the numbers suggest that the vast majority (at least 80%) of organisations required to complete the Esos energy audit will fail to do so in time, given some 14,000 reminder notices were sent out in spring. It appears those that will miss the deadline are also leaving it late to notify of non-compliance. The Environment Agency said laggards still needed to fill in online late slip.
“We will look more favourably on firms that can show that they have taken serious and timely steps towards compliance so organisations should do as much as they can before the deadline even if they know they will not be in a position to comply fully by 5 December 2015,” the EA reiterated. “Those organisations which are going to miss the 5 December 2015 deadline will need to inform us of this online prior to the deadline.”
The Environment Agency will publish numbers of compliant organisations on Monday (7 December). It will publish a list of compliant organisations after 29 January.
The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (Esos) is part of the European Energy Efficiency Directive.
It requires larger companies and organisations to conduct an energy audit using a qualified assessor and have a director sign it off. They are not obliged to act on its findings.
Some have criticised the scheme as more bureaucracy. Some believe it to be the most effective way to bridge the disconnect between energy managers and board-level decision makers. Others think it should be “given teeth” and expanded to include smaller businesses.
The ongoing review of business energy taxes suggests that Esos could yet become a central plank of future policy. Treasury has even suggested that incentives or subsidies may be on the table.
While the current effective deadline for Esos compliance is 29 January, companies may, via ISO 50001, comply by June 2016.