Manufacturers ‘unprepared for mandatory energy assessments’

British manufacturers are under prepared for the Government’s Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) assessments scheduled to take place this year, according to research from npower Business Solutions.
Although ESOS is designed to help large organsiations cut energy use, 49% of manufacturing businesses said they were unaware of the scheme, while 45% reported being unprepared for the first of the Government’s assessments which are due by December 2015.

ESOS is designed to help UK businesses become more energy efficient so that they achieve greater savings and greater emissions reductions. Failure to comply with ESOS will result in fines of up to £50,000 and possible charges of an additional £500 per day for up to 80 days.

npower spoke to more than 100 decision makers at manufacturing businesses across the UK. Most are already investing in energy efficiency and 60% said they have already conducted their own assessment for their company’s energy use in the past three years. Despite this, and with less than a year until the first assessments, 69% of respondents did not feel well informed about the requirements for carrying out an ESOS assessment.

Wayne Mitchell, head of npower Business Solutions, said: “ESOS may seem like another policy that just brings more costs for manufacturers, but we see it as a significant opportunity to reduce the pressure on your bottom line. Energy is one of the least optimised costs in a business and yet through implementing simple efficiency measures, the average business could reduce consumption by 20%, with a big impact on what you pay for your gas and electricity.”

“Nevertheless, he said, there were significant shortcomings in the way the policy had been communicated and will be implemented.

He added: “I’m disappointed that the ESOS legislation includes a financial penalty for those that do not comply with its requirements, and yet doesn’t make it mandatory for businesses to implement any of the energy saving recommendations that these assessments will produce. As a result, I fear the policy could prove to be something of a white elephant, its potency significantly weakened by the fact manufacturers will see it more as a paper exercise rather than an opportunity to change their relationship with energy consumption.”

Gareth Stace (pictured), head of climate and environment at EEF, said: “Whilst DECC has taken every opportunity to ensure the scheme has remained as straightforward and flexible as possible, many organisations, particularly those at the start of their energy efficiency journey, will find the requirements of ESOS a significant undertaking and will need help in achieving them.”