ESOS compliance still slow

27th October 2015

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  • Management/saving ,
  • Business & Industry


Frank Given

Fewer than 500 companies have complied with new energy efficiency regulations as the deadline nears.

Around 10,000 companies are covered by the energy savings opportunities scheme (ESOS), but the Environment Agency says it has been notified of compliance by just 489.

It expects that number to increase as the 5 December deadline approaches. "The notification rate has started to rise and we expect that it will continue to do so as the deadline approaches. We are monitoring the notification rate and have also carried out some further awareness-raising work," the agency said in a statement.

Concern had been raised by industry commentators over the slow start to meet the December date. In October, the agency said it did not plan to enforce non-compliance until the end of January, as long as companies explained by the original deadline why compliance had not been possible. They must also provide evidence of efforts towards compliance, including proof of appointment of an independent assessor.

The agency stressed that the deadline had not been extended, but rather reflected its willingness to use discretion over enforcement. Evidence of efforts made towards compliance will be taken into account in considering any enforcement action, its compliance guidelines stated.

The extra time to complete audits has been welcomed by industry. Darryl Mattocks, managing director of Enistic, said: "The difference for some of our larger clients is extreme. We can do a more thorough job and identify more savings."

Companies can also meet ESOS through the energy management standard ISO 50001, and the agency now says firms have until 30 June 2016 to achieve certification. But commentators do not believe that, even though the agency has in effective extended the 50001 deadline, more companies will take this route instead of basic ESOS compliance.

"They've made their decision already so it's too late to change tack," Mattocks said. David Cockshott, sales and marketing director at Inenco, said complying with 50001 was significantly more complicated. "You're not going to start now and be done by June," he argued.

Martin Hockaday, environmental sector manager at certification body NQA, said there was still time to gain certification by June, however. "If an organisation already has an ISO 14001-based environmental management system, it would be possible to set up a system in time for us to audit it," he said.

He argued that 50001 was the best route to ESOS compliance because certification demanded proof of continuing improvement, which forced businesses to implement energy efficiency measures. "ESOS is just a piece of paper else," he said.

Tom Johnston, general manager of certification services at BM TRADA, agreed that certification to 50001 was still possible if an EMS was already in place.


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