Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is being introduced by the UK government to implement the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. This is a piece of EU legislation that promotes energy efficiency in the EU with the aim of ensuring the Union’s 2020 20 % headline target on energy efficiency is met (and improving energy efficiency generally). The ESOS requires all qualifying businesses to undergo an assessment that looks at energy usage and opportunities for energy efficiency – the deadline for this assessment is 5th December 2015.

What kind of business qualifies? Any organisation employing more than 250 people with an annual balance sheet in excess of €43 million and an annual turnover of more than €50 million. An organisation may not necessarily come within the traditional definition of a company in order to be required to carry out the assessment as long as the criteria above are met (for example, it may be a non-profit organisation).

What if a qualifying organisation doesn’t comply? There are fines for non-compliance for those businesses that don’t carry out their assessments. These range from a failure to notify the Environment Agency of compliance (£5,000 plus £500 per working day you remain in breach), to not maintaining adequate records (£5,000 plus sum equivalent to compliance body costs), not conducting an energy audit (£50,000 - plus £500 per working day you remain in breach) or providing misleading or false information (£50,000).

How can organisations ensure compliance? The ESOS assessment requires the total energy consumption for buildings, industrial processes and transport to be measured. Areas where significant amounts of energy are being consumed need to be identified – where they account for at least 90% of the organisation’s total energy consumption. Cost effective energy efficient solutions need to be identified for these areas. Finally, a ‘Lead Energy Assessor’ should be appointed to oversee the assessment. A Lead Energy Assessor could be an employee or an external party, but must be a member of an approved professional body register.

What are the deadlines? Once the ESOS assessment has been carried out a notification of compliance needs to be sent to the Environment Agency – this needs to be done by 5th December 2015 and every four years after that. The period for notifying compliance begins on 1 January 2015 so organisations have almost a year in order to get organised and to ensure that the correct assessment has been carried out and the notification provided.

Once you have set your business up to comply with the ESOS requirements, and you have carried out your assessment and notified the Environment Agency, then you must keep records in an evidence pack. There’s no set format for the evidence pack but it should demonstrate the data that was used (in particular the dates that the data refers to) and how the assessment was carried out.

While Stephensons isn’t able to take on the role of carrying out your ESOS assessment, if you’re looking for professionals to help you complete the job then we are more than happy to refer you to our network of experts – please get in touch for more details on 0333 344 4776.