Another year, another new piece of energy legislation for businesses. In the past two decades I’ve worked in the energy retail business, I’ve witnessed the market transform beyond recognition and I can confidently say it has not all been good for businesses.
The reason for my nostalgia is my recent return to Inenco after a number of supply-side roles and it’s given me chance to reflect on how the market has changed.
It’s fair to say that the majority changes have mostly been driven by the increasing amount of energy regulation. With it, we’ve all seen the role of energy professionals expand to more than simply getting a good price, with compliance and carbon carrying a significant weighting in any procurement exercise – a far cry from the first role I held as an electricity purchasing manager at Inenco when it really was price, price, price.
Finally, a carrot and not a stick!
At a glance the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) seems like another stick to hit energy managers with, but on closer inspection it is different. For starters:
Of course there are still fines for non-compliance, but why would you not comply? I can’t help but think it’s a bit like being told to wear your seatbelt. I remember my Dad moaning every time Mum nagged him to comply with the new law. Now more than 30 years later it’s second nature and who would deny the benefits we have seen. Will striving for energy savings be second nature in 30 years? Is ESOS the answer? I guess it depends how we all respond.
I’ve heard potential saving figures in the hundreds of millions of pounds, but under ESOS whether those figures become a reality or not lies in the hands of businesses themselves.
ESOS is not the ‘stick’ approach that the CRC became. That said, I’m fairly sure the ESOS ‘carrot’ will be big enough to act on regardless. It goes without saying that the only businesses who will really benefit are those who do something with the audit recommendations.
Good things don’t always come to those who wait…
The first ESOS deadline is fast approaching. Eligible businesses have to assess their qualification status by 31 December.
The number of businesses requiring audits far outstrips the number of good quality auditors currently available and choosing your ESOS partner – either an energy consultant or supplier, or training up an employee to become lead auditor needs to happen now. Don’t put your head in the sand and wait until next year to worry about ESOS – this scheme is different. ESOS is all about opportunity (the clue really is in the name) and businesses have got to approach it with a different mind-set.
Dave Cockshott, Director at Inenco Group