Advantage Utilities has called upon the Environment Agency (EA) to clarify its Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) penalties which could cost businesses up to £50,000 as well as an additional £500 per day if the breach is not remedied.
The mandatory energy assessment scheme applies to large UK enterprises, warehouses, and companies which are required to submit an energy audit to the EA every four years.
The deadline for Phase 2 of the audit passed in December 2019, and companies which failed to comply are now facing reported penalties.
ESOS, which was introduced in December 2014, is split into four phases and designed to allow companies to identify flexible and “cost-effective” opportunities to improve their energy efficiency.
Whilst no fines have been issued yet, there is great concern surrounding the financial burden this poses to businesses, especially during a time of economic crisis.
Andrew Grover, CEO of Advantage Utilities, said: “There’s a lot to be gained from the ESOS scheme as it puts the UK in good stead for reaching its net zero targets and many companies actually stand to make long-term savings.
“However, a lot has changed since the deadline passed in December 2019. We are facing a very turbulent time here in the UK with many businesses operating with limited staff and cashflow. The last thing businesses need is more uncertainty and worry.”
On average, Advantage Utilities reported organisations succumbed £6,150 in additional external expenses in “relation to the compliance” of Phase 1.
Around 1,500 companies were said to have failed to comply with the first phase and 300 enforcement notices were issued.
Grover added: “We’ve seen large organisations with ample resources miss the deadline in Phase 1, it’s unsurprising that smaller businesses may be unclear or even unaware of the scheme in Phase 2.”