EA offers ESOS compliance extension with penalties to follow “early next year”

Businesses that have received enforcement notices for non-compliance with ESOS (the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) can apply for an extension, the Environment Agency (EA) has said.

The scheme regulator told environmental news website ENDS that it has so far issued 470 enforcement notices for ESOS non-compliance, and plans to start penalising firms early next year.

The EA said it initially contacts all such organisations and provides them an opportunity to explain why they should not be included. “If we are not satisfied with their response, or receive no response, we subsequently issue an Enforcement Notice which gives the recipient three months to fulfil ESOS requirements,” the regulator said.

An EA spokesperson told ENDS that the EA “recognised Covid-19 had impacted on many businesses and those struggling to comply with an enforcement notice may contact us to agree, with justification, an extension to the three month compliance period”.

ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme that requires UK organisations to carry out audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport every 4 years, to identify cost-effective energy-saving measures.

The deadline for phase 2 of the scheme passed on 5 December 2019. ESOS is now in phase 3 – and organisations have until December 2023 to comply.

The EA told ENDS it was tracing organisations it believed qualified for inclusion in ESOS scheme requirements but had failed to notify.

“This is to ensure fairness to compliant businesses and ensure the effectiveness of the scheme which is intended to enable organisations to better understand and reduce their energy usage,” the regulator said.