Three quarters of businesses have yet to start their mandatory energy audits which must be completed by the end of the year.
A new poll on the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) also revealed nearly half (47%) of those surveyed have not yet begun any compliance activity.
Under the new initiative, large businesses in the UK are obliged to carry out energy audits else could be fined up to £50,000 plus extra charges of £500 per day for up to 80 days.
The poll also found more than half of the businesses have yet to appoint a lead assessor. There have been concerns around supply and demand as there are estimated to be less than 500 lead assessors currently for more than 10,000 businesses.
Despite the lack of progress, 79% of businesses feel confident they will meet the ESOS deadline of 5th December 2015.
Firms are however struggling with certain aspects of the scheme, with 52% citing lack of time and resource as the biggest barrier and 27% admitting identifying and collating data as the main challenge.
Others mentioned the complexity of the scheme and “lack of buy-in” from senior management as a hindrance towards progress.
Dave Cockshott, Chief Commercial Officer at energy consultancy Inenco, which surveyed more than 100 businesses said: “Businesses that are aiming for a sprint to sign off are missing out on the opportunity that ESOS offers to take a strategic approach to identifying and delivering energy efficiency measures. The message is clear: businesses need to act now to ensure they have enough time to appoint an expert lead assessor to help make the ESOS process as productive and pain-free as possible.”
According to the government, businesses could save £1.9 billion on energy bills, citing calculations that investing £15,000 a year on energy efficiency measures as recommended by the assessment could lead to bill savings of more than £56,000 per year.
Last year Energy Secretary Ed Davey guaranteed businesses’ energy audits would go to “the people who need to hear it”.