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Get ready for more energy-efficiency obligations Do you feel your energy-efficiency-related workload has become, well, inefficient? We currently have the CRC, the EU ETS, Climate Change Agreements and Greenhouse Gas […]

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By Geoff Curran

Get ready for more energy-efficiency obligations

Do you feel your energy-efficiency-related workload has become, well, inefficient? We currently have the CRC, the EU ETS, Climate Change Agreements and Greenhouse Gas emissions reporting, some or all of which you may be legally required to participate in. Then there are the complexities of Electricity Market Reform and its implications for your business to understand.

But just when you feel you deserve a lie down, new mandatory energy audits are now heading your way (courtesy of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive). This means that DECC is charged with ensuring that all non-SME UK enterprises complete an energy audit – henceforth to be known as an ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme) assessment – by December 2015, then repeat the exercise every four years.

Before you ask, there is no option for the UK to opt out. But DECC is aiming to minimise the administrative burden as much as possible, for example by allowing the use of information already gathered under the existing schemes detailed above, considering a de minimis energy spend as well as looking at exemptions for organisations with ISO50001 accreditation.

Clearly, your views on these new audits matter too. Hence the current DECC consultation to gather feedback on how best to implement this scheme, along with various technical considerations. But to help you avoid wading through lots of heavy data, we have consolidated the main points into a quick-to-complete ten-question survey, from which we’ll collate responses and submit to DECC on your behalf. You can access this here and the deadline for completion is Wednesday 19 September.

Before you do this, though, you might want to just be clear on the new audit’s eligibility criteria. Public bodies and SMEs are exempt, the latter being defined as employing fewer than 250 people and either a) annual turnover no greater than €50m and/or b) an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43m. And if your business forms part of a corporate group, then you’ll only be eligible if there’s one or more large (ie non SME) company within that group.

For everyone else not on this list (and if you’re a charity, the bad news is that includes you), you’ll be required to complete your first energy audit by 5 December 2015. This must be carried out by a qualified assessor (which could be someone in-house with the appropriate accreditation) and will look at the total energy use and efficiency of your organisation, then make cost-effective recommendations for improvement. However, you won’t be under any obligation to then implement the recommendations.

The current DECC consultation, and our survey, also looks at how the ESOS scheme will be administered and reported – and whether or not to make this information publicly available. So I really do recommend you take part. This is going to impact your business and your views do matter.

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