The ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations, for example, those with more than 250 employees. Qualifying undertakings had to submit a notification to the scheme’s administrator, the Environment Agency, by the end of the first compliance period, which ended on 5 December 2015. By that date, only about half the expected number had complied. Recognising that this was new legislation, the Environment Agency advised that, although it had no power to extend the compliance date, it would not take action against organisations providing that they notified by 29 January 2016 or 30 June 2016 for those choosing to comply with an ISO 50001 certified energy management system.
Those deadlines have now long since passed and, although the estimated compliance rate is over 90%, the regulators are actively seeking those who have not complied. Some reports suggest that 1,500 organisations are in the firing line. Noncompliant organisations could receive a basic fine of £50,000, plus an additional fine of £800 per day up to a maximum of 80 days.
RSK ESOS lead assessors assisted the Environment Agency in 2016 to carry out pilot compliance audits of a selection of organisations that had notified and continued with a second round of routine audits in 2017. They acted as Environment Agency representatives and reviewed ESOS assessments, visited sites, interviewed company employees and prepared reports of compliance with mandatory and optional actions. This gave them practical insights into the application of the regulations and the best ways of complying with them and common mistakes to avoid.
Companies need to be acting now. Those that have not notified for period one face likely enforcement action, but they may mitigate the consequences if they act immediately. Responsible companies should act immediately to prepare for the second compliance period end date of 5 December 2019.
For those companies relying on audits, the 12-month data collection period needs to start on or soon after 1 January 2018 to meet the mandatory requirement to incorporate the qualification date of 31 December 2018.
Another route could be to extend an existing ISO 14001 system to encompass ISO 50001; alternatively, companies can develop a standalone energy management system. In either case, compliance is only assured if the system covers all energy use, is certified by an approved certification body and is valid at the compliance date. It takes time to develop a system and to implement and audit it before certification can be granted.
RSK has significant experience of assisting clients with their energy-related projects, developing energy management systems, compliance with standards such as ISO 50001, lead assessor auditing and guidance. To discuss how RSK can support your organisation or clients in the development and implementation of effective controls, please contact Nick Hedges.