There is much speculation surrounding the fines the Environment Agency has threatened to impose on organisations found to be non-compliant with the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). Indeed, interesting debates continue to swirl, including those around whether or not the EA’s non-compliance fines are a fair approach, and whether or not the fines will actually be imposed. Despite these growing debates, the EA’s insistence that the scheme will be strictly enforced has endured.
Beyond Fines: Public Naming and Shaming
Apart from a range of fines, which can be up to £50,000 and £500 per each additional day of non-compliance up to 80 days, the EA has another tool in its enforcement arsenal. Specifically, the EA have maintained a list of all non-compliant organisations will be posted, along with reasons why a fine has been imposed, and how much the fine is.
What is non-compliance exactly?
Facing this arsenal of tools aimed at deterring non-compliance, it is important for an organisation to understand what non-compliance actually means. That is, it becomes important to ask: what can one actually be fined or publicly named and shamed for?
Contrary to common believe, non-compliance can be more than simply not undertaking an ESOS assessment. If your organisation is eligible for ESOS, it can fail to be compliant with ESOS in six different ways:
1) Failure to notify the Scheme Administrator of compliance by the required date
2) Failure to provide basic details as part of notification
3) Failure to maintain adequate records to demonstrate compliance with ESOS
4) Failure to undertake an ESOS Assessment
5) Failure to comply with an enforcement, compliance or penalty notice
6) Making a statement which is false and misleading
While the potential for fines or public embarrassment is perhaps intimidating, ESOS compliance need not be a dizzying experience. Planning your assessment early on in 2015, long before the 5th December deadline, is crucial to avoid all of these various types non-compliance.
Unsure if you need to comply? Did you meet the qualification criteria by 31 December 2014? Check out our blog on 7 fundamentals of ESOS for more basic information on the qualification criteria and on ESOS in general.
Though there are over 8 months left, Pulse have already been working with a number of businesses and organisations to begin their ESOS Assessments. We work with a diverse range of organisations, from large charities, to those in various corners of the leisure industry, to law firms and accountancies.
Robin Hamaker is a qualified low carbon energy consultant. She provides advice and services on energy efficiency and audits, energy behaviour change, and on UK energy legislation such as CRC, CCA, and now ESOS. She can be reached at RHamaker@pulsebusinessenergy.co.uk