Guest Blog: Dave Cockshott – The countdown to compliance has begun

Last week we passed the first big ESOS marker: it’s officially less than 12 months until the 5th December 2015 deadline for the 10,000 eligible businesses to submit their final […]

Last week we passed the first big ESOS marker: it’s officially less than 12 months until the 5th December 2015 deadline for the 10,000 eligible businesses to submit their final reports to the Environment Agency – and all should be monitoring their consumption by now if they weren’t already.

Over the past few weeks we’ve hosted ESOS workshops around the country and held webinars on the topic to help businesses get to grips with the scheme and what they need to do to comply.

Whilst attendees have certainly done their homework, there are still some gaps in knowledge.

One of the biggies is whether to go down the route of ISO50001 accreditation, because those sites that are ISO accredited are exempt from ESOS assessments. Without a doubt, ISO50001 is a good route for a lot of businesses. It represents best practice for energy management, so why wouldn’t you get to grips with your processes and reduce consumption?

However, ISO50001 is not a quick process and ESOS timescales are tight. Due to the lengthy period of certification and the amount of work which may be needed, the timelines could be prohibitive for most organisations to get all the required work completed and signed off in these timescales.

For many businesses, the most practical option is to undertake ESOS audits in 2015 to ensure compliance and spend subsequent years making and implementing plans to reach ISO50001 requirements. After all, once the 2015 ESOS audit is complete you’ll have four years before the next one is due.

Another area that seems to be causing mass confusion is how a company determines what to audit and unsurprisingly as it certainly isn’t black and white. In practice this will be down to the judgement of the Lead Assessor. They will review the individual company’s portfolio to determine what constitutes a representative sample.

There is a de minimis rule for reporting as well – this means that each company must only report on 90% of their energy. For some this may mean that they aren’t obliged to report on certain elements of energy use (such as transport, if very little is undertaken by a business).

Appointing a Lead Assessor also appears to be a common concern. Put simply, you can either appoint someone internally or externally, providing they’re on one of the Environment Agency’s approved register.

Accrediting an internal Lead Assessor could take some time – and equally, if your organisation is looking to appoint an external assessor that needs to be at the top of your To Do list for next year, as there are relatively few qualified assessors compared to the vast numbers of businesses who’ll need to comply, although registers are being added to as more people qualify.

So for any business still getting to grips with ESOS, my advice would be:

> Understand what it means for your business: There is a wealth of information out there that can help you, such as the ESOS Hub
Get your data in order: Assessments must include 12 months consecutive data with a mandatory ‘anchor’ point of December 2014, so make sure you can access consumption and transport data from now.
> Appoint a Lead Assessor: the Environment Agency has now published a list of accredited registers, but with relatively few assessors for around 10,000 businesses, act fast to make sure you appoint someone with sector-specific expertise and experience.
> Think long term: if you treat ESOS as a box-ticking exercise, you’re missing out on the huge opportunity to unearth energy waste and act on the recommendations to make serious savings.

You can listen to our Energy Live News ESOS webinar and read all of the FAQs or watch a quick three-minute guide to ESOS in the Y Report.

Dave Cockshott is the Chief Commercial Officer at Inenco.

This is a sponsored article.

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