ESOS on your marks..get set...go!
15/12/2014« Back

The Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme has been under starters orders for a while and now it’s out of the blocks the race to the finish line is on. Or is it?

Chairman of the Energy Services and Technology Association Richard Hipkiss considers what is needed to keep ESOS on the right track.

It’s still not widely understood by companies that they do not have to register for ESOS and that they are not going to be told by Government if they are in or out, its all down to company executives to decide their approach. That might be a challenge if a recent industry survey that suggested less than two thirds of large companies are not aware of what they are required to do for compliance. If two thirds of large companies are not aware, that doesn’t bode well for the expected knowledge in smaller companies that will comply.  

What is a fact is that companies meeting the qualification requirements will have to declare compliance by 5th December 2015 or risk the penalty of fines up to £50,000 and public disclosure of non-compliance.

Increased Awareness needed

Given that the aim of ESOS is to promote the uptake of cost-effective energy efficiency measures the demand side energy industry expected that the Department of Energy and Climate Change might do more to increase awareness to potential participants, with a focus on the benefits rather than perceived cost of compliance.  

At a recent seminar in London where I spoke alongside Martin Adams of DECC I posed a question that I have been asked a number of times both by participants and potential service providers, “Will more guidance be made available?” the answer was very clear and straightforward “No”.

So, we have all the guidance we are going to get so with less than twelve months to comply it’s essential that the scheme gets underway or we could have yet another missed opportunity for energy efficiency.

Industry led guidance

There is no shortage of guidance from within the industry regarding the scheme, and since September it would seem that there has been a conscious effort for everyone to bombard everyone else inbox with ESOS related marketing, my fear however is that this is simply finding its way to the same ‘already aware’ participants and other service providers. This may have resulted in early confusion but already knowledge of the scheme is increasing with the qualification of the Lead Assessor role.

The Role of the Lead Assessor

The Lead Assessor plays a pivot role in compliance, if considered as a project then the Lead Assessor is the project manager or coordinator. There are multiple routes to compliance but other than for this that have acted early enough to implement and certify to ISO50001 will remove the need for the signature of a Lead Assessor.

There are a number of schemes now approved to accredit Lead Assessors, ESTA recently invited the Energy Institute (who host the Register of Professional Energy Consultants) and CIBSE (who host the Low Carbon Consultants Register) to answer respond to questions and answers from ESTA members. The result demonstrated two already well established knowledge bases each with Lead Assessors on hand.

If you are participant, selecting your Lead Assessor is very important to deliver your objectives. Be clear with your priorities, avoid being led by discussions around sampling for site surveys and what 90% of consumption to be covered, instead focus on what you want to achieve.

Remember, the Lead Assessor doesn’t have to carry out site assessments but does have to approve them as being fit for purpose as part of your compliance.

Why multiple routes to compliance?

So why allow multiple routes to compliance? Simply because there are a plethora of initiatives out there asking business to measure energy use, or carbon emissions, or greenhouse gas emissions, and then submit reports. In consultation business suggested to government that rather than create yet another unique compliance route for ESOS, it should look at the existing methods and identify which of those could assist with ESOS compliance.

Whatever your route to compliance create your team with your chosen Lead Assessor to ensure that ESOS works for you and we don’t miss another golden opportunity to drive energy efficiency.

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