ESOS: have lessons been learnt?

10 Jul 2017



With Phase 2 of the UK Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) underway, the Environment Agency has once again reminded that hundreds of qualifying companies will be hit with fines for failing to comply with Phase 1 of the compulsory scheme.

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme requires all large companies in the United Kingdom to undertake energy audits at least once every four years; the first compliance deadline was set for 5th December 2015. (article: ESOS... so what next?). 

Environment Agency Call to Action

The Environment Agency revealed that it has issued more than 300 enforcement notices to companies that have not complied, with a further 200 fines – of which can be as high as £50,000 - to be issued.  Further details following the Environment Agency’s newsletter are as follows:

  • Approximately 500 organisations are confirmed to qualify for the scheme, but failed to engage in the ESOS process. Of these 500 companies, 300 Enforcement Notices have already been served, with additional action to be taken over the next financial year.
  • Approximately 1,000 organisations stated that they do not qualify for the scheme. The EA has investigated over 80% of these organisations to ensure that they had correctly assessed their status. A number of organisations were subsequently found to have incorrectly assessed themselves and, as such, Enforcement Notices will be served.
  • Around 2,800 notifications stated that their company would be late in submitting their Compliance Notification. The EA proceeded to chase these companies with 50 formal Enforcement Notices issued to late organisations. All of these cases have now been resolved.
  • The EA have begun civil proceedings against a number of non-compliant organisations. The civil penalties will be published by the EA in due course.

Who qualifies?

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme requires all large undertakings (with >250 employees; or €50m turnover and €30m balance sheet) to complete energy audits of its business, or entire corporate group. The EA are encouraging businesses to start their energy audits before the Phase 2 compliance date of 5 December 2019.

ESOS does not distinguish between businesses, so any business that is large enough to meet the qualification criteria is required to participate in it.

Issues facing ESOS Phase 1 compliance

Some participants did struggle to find lead assessors and auditors to carry their ESOS work out, so the Environment Agency are advising business to start work on their Phase 2 energy audit well in advance of the 2019 deadline.  Any energy audits completed now are valid evidence to demonstrate ESOS compliance, and the earlier you identify potential savings the earlier you can act to save money. If you know that your organisation will meet the definition of a large undertaking in December 2019, there is no reason not to get started now.

To find out how you and your organisation can get ready for ESOS Phase 2 – please contact Dan Ellis, Senior Sustainability Consultant.  Read more about our Energy services.

Related article: ESOS… so what next?