Firms should be made to act on ESOS audit recommendations, says BEIS

The UK stands no chance of meeting its emissions reduction targets unless the Government takes urgent action to revive its failing energy efficiency policy, MPs have warned.

A report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee recommends a number of policy changes to meet the challenge – including giving more teeth to the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). It raises concerns that ESOS is currently just an “administrative burden” for business, rather than an opening to realise energy bill savings.

Instead, the report says ESOS audits should be publicly available – and that businesses should be required to demonstrate that they have acted on the energy saving opportunities identified.

ESOS is a mandatory scheme that requires large organisations to carry out energy efficiency assessments once every four years. These assessments are audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures. But there is no legal requirement to implement the recommendations made.

The report says, “Measuring the success of ESOS has proved challenging due to a lack of public information on the scheme. Nonetheless, available evidence indicates that just five per cent of businesses are taking forward the audit’s recommendations in full.”

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

“Improving energy efficiency is by far the cheapest way of cutting our emissions and must be a key plank of any credible strategy to deliver net zero by 2050. If the Government lacks the political will to deliver energy efficiency improvements, how can we expect it to get on with the costlier actions needed to tackle climate change? More energy efficient buildings are not only crucial for tackling climate change but are vital for lowering customers’ energy bills and lifting people out of fuel poverty. Despite a consensus on what needs to be done, Ministers have continued to sit on their hands and failed to deliver the policies needed to boost energy efficiency.”

Read the full report.

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