SECR and ESOS: the key differences at a glance

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) and Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting Scheme (SECR) have become part of the regulatory landscape since coming into force in 2014 and 2019 respectively. Both are government schemes which make it mandatory for large businesses to gather detailed data on their energy consumption, and there were similar intentions behind the creation of both schemes, but they are entirely separate. Forthcoming changes to ESOS, currently the subject of an open consultation, may bring them into closer alignment. But how do the two schemes currently differ?
Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)
Requires businesses to calculate and report on their energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Requires businesses to calculate and report on their energy usage, but there is no requirement to record emissions.
Mandatory for three types of UK organisation: 1. Companies listed on a stock exchange 2. Companies that qualify as “large” (using the definition in the Companies Act). 3. Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) that qualify as “large”. Mandatory for “large undertakings” in the UK. This means companies who either: a) employ 250 or more people; or b) have an annual turnover above €50 million and a balance over €43 million. (This is larger than the size threshold for SECR.)
Does not apply to organisations that are not registered in the UK. Applies to overseas companies if they have a UK-registered establishment with 250 or more employees.
Requires businesses to report on what actions they have taken during the reporting year to cut energy use and emissions, but does not expect them to mention any planned/possible future actions. Requires businesses in scope to identify opportunities for improving their energy efficiency and list these in their report.
Asks businesses to include at least one intensity ratio, comparing emissions with other metrics such as units of production. No requirement to include an energy intensity ratio.
Requires businesses to report every year, submitting the report to Companies House as part of their annual accounts. Runs in four-year cycles, and businesses choose a 12-month period within each cycle as the basis for their reporting.
Roughly 14,000 businesses in scope. Roughly 11,000 businesses in scope.
Review of SECR planned for 2024. Government is currently consulting on a wide-ranging set of changes to the scheme, potentially coming into effect during the current cycle (Phase 3).
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