Fears that the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme would prove somewhat toothless may well be proved right.
A report by Savills Energy in early September 2015, by which time there were just under three months left for compliance, revealed only 152 organisations had informed the Environment Agency that they are compliant, according to a story broken by Next Energy News.
ESOS requires companies to undertake an energy assessment, the first of which must be carried out by 5 December 2015, and with an estimated 15,000 companies having to comply, this latest figure suggests there could be an avalanche of fines heading their way.
Penalties for non-compliance can amount to a fixed punishment of up to £5000 with daily fines thereafter for each day an assessment is not logged with the authorities.
The idea is that the cost of compliance is cheaper than the penalties, and it is estimated that acting on the assessment’s findings to improve energy performance can result in those costs being recovered inside two years. Furthermore, companies who fail to get their assessments done will be publicly named and shamed.
The fact that companies don’t have to act on the findings of their assessments is what founded concerns that the impact of ESOS would be minimal, but proactive businesses should see ESOS as a useful business tool to unlock energy savings rather than a bureaucratic box-ticking exercise to be ignored.
Perhaps a round of hefty fines is what it will take to prompt many of them into action, but it should also be seen as an opportunity for renewables manufacturers and installers to outline the benefits of the scheme and raise awareness of the products and energy sources available.