Latest update on ESOS Energy Audits

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With the final deadline for compliance to the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014 (ESOS) having recently passed on 30 June 2016, the Lexology website offered some updates on the issue.

 

The EU Energy Efficiency Directive calls on member states to implement requirements for 'large undertakings' to conduct energy audits to identify how their energy consumption can be reduced. The ESOS regulations are being used in the UK to implement the directive.

The Environment Agency (EA) extended the original deadline of 5 December 2015 to 29 January 2016, although businesses who sought to comply via the ISO 50001 accreditation had until 30 June.

As both compliance deadlines have now passed, obligated businesses that have failed to carry out an energy audit or achieved ISO 50001 certification now face the threat of enforcement action. The ESOS Enforcement Team has been created to serve compliance and enforcement notices, which it has already started doing. According to the EA's latest ESOS newsletter, the Enforcement Team is said to be investigating some 1700 organisations.

The newsletter also notes that a 'naming and shaming' policy is being adopted, with details of offending companies being published online. It's estimated that as many as 3,000 businesses have failed to undertake an audit. Non-compliance is a criminal offence and, as such, failure to complete an audit can result in penalties of up to £50,000; daily penalties can add to this even further.

Meanwhile, those who have completed their audit must now consider addressing the changes that were identified. There is no legal requirement for this, but cost savings are likely to be a driving factor, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change has published guidance to help businesses implement the recommended changes.

UK companies must also be aware that if they have a business presence in another European country, they must consider the directive in every relevant member state. This can be difficult for European businesses as the various member states have adopted different thresholds and approaches, with some countries yet to implement the energy audit requirement.

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