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Are We Heading Towards The ESOS Crunch Point?

A recent survey by Inenco has shown three quarters of businesses have yet to begin their ESOS audits and the ratio of Lead Assessors to the 10,400 organisations is 1:20.

With just 250 days until the submission deadline and hefty fines for non-compliance, are we soon approaching a crunch point where businesses leave it too late and demand for Lead Assessors outstrips supply?

Nearly half (47%) of the business energy professionals we spoke to admitted they hadn’t yet started work on any aspect of their ESOS compliance and a further 29% had appointed a lead assessor but had yet to undertake any audits. Only five of those questioned had completed their audits!

Why is this a worry?

Well, the average audit takes between two to three months to complete and with only eight months until the 5th December deadline, you might think there’s plenty of time to complete the report.

In my opinion that’s the wrong attitude – and here’s why.

It will take longer than you think

More than half (52%) of businesses cited time and resource as the biggest challenge they faced with ESOS; a further 27% said identifying and collating data. Before audits can begin, businesses will need to collate data from across their operations which can be a time-intensive process – particularly in areas where data has never been collated before. We’ve been working with over 100 businesses and in our experience, getting stared takes longer than you might think, no matter how organised you feel.

So don’t underestimate the amount of time needed to prepare for audits – and the amount of time needed to create the report.

Sector knowledge

Assuming your business is one of the several thousand that will need third party support with compliance, one of the most important factors to picking a Lead Assessor is their knowledge of your type of organisation. Even those hoping to conduct audits internally will still need to obtain sign off for the sample sites before they commence. The closer we get to the compliance deadline, the more likely the demand for Lead Assessors will outstrip supply and businesses could end up with a Lead Assessor who might not be an expert in their sector.

Covering the cost of compliance…

The ESOS report will identify a raft of energy efficiency measures that can be prioritised and acted upon to convert into savings and only 12% of businesses surveyed felt it was unlikely they would act on ESOS recommendations. The sooner a business can act, the more likely the opportunity to make in-year financial savings to cover the cost of compliance.

…which could be creeping up…

The closer we get to crunch point, the bigger the issue of limited resources and high demand. Costs are predicted to rise closer to the deadline date, which should act as a further deterrent to leaving it too late.

The sooner businesses can act on ESOS, the more unlikely they are to face higher costs of compliance and a Lead Assessor that lacks expert knowledge.

ESOS is an opportunity to identify and unlock major savings across an organisation: businesses really can’t afford to leave it too late.

Dave Cockshott, Director at Inenco Group