Government begins issuing non-compliance fines as ESOS Phase 2 starts

A newsletter sent out by the Environment Agency has revealed that it has already issued more than 300 enforcement notices to non-compliant organisations, with around 200 more set to be issued penalties this financial year.

Hundreds more organisations could be in line for fines, of as much as £50,000, after incorrectly claiming that they did not qualify for the scheme upon the the ultimate ESOS Phase 1 deadline of 29th April 2016. There had been some speculation that ESOS, which requires all large businesses to produce reports on energy use and efficiency every four years, would be discontinued after the UK general election, and Brexit had also thrown ESOS into a state of uncertainty, as the scheme was brought in as part of the UK's implementation of the European Commission’s 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive, which may cease to apply after the UK's departure from the EU.

The Environment Agency confirms that the scheme will continue into its second phase as planned, and the body is now encouraging businesses to begin carrying out energy audits before the Phase 2 compliance deadline of 5th December 2019.

The Environment Agency newsletter says “If you know that you will qualify for Phase 2, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start doing your energy assessments now, you will not be able to carry out the assessment of your 'total energy consumption', as this has to include the qualification date of 31st December 2018. However, where you know that an energy supply will be included in your 'significant energy consumption', you can do the audit work on this supply.”

All organisations that undertook an energy audit as the compliance route for ESOS Phase 1 will have to repeat the exercise before the end of 2019. The ESOS audit needs to be based on at least one year’s energy measurement - which can be taken from any year-long period between 6th December 2014 and 5th December 2019 - but this cannot be the same data that was used in the previous phase.

As with Phase 1 of the scheme, any qualifying organisation can become automatically compliant with ESOS by achieving certification to ISO 50001 energy management system, and providing evidence that they have done so.

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