ESOS – lessons we learnt from Phase 1

ESOS – lessons we learnt from Phase 1

Don’t look for reasons to delay ESOS Phase 2 compliance. Brexit means Brexit and ESOS means ESOS. Start now to ensure you hit the deadline.

The ESOS Phase 1 deadline was 5 December 2015. As ESOS had only really come into effect and been publicised in July 2014, this only gave businesses around 17 months to get to grips with a brand new piece of legislation and complete all the activities required for compliance.

In the end, there was some leniency with this initial deadline. Organisations were given the opportunity to submit an ‘Intent to Comply’ notice by 31 January 2016, if they were working towards compliance but hadn’t yet completed all the necessary activities. At Utilitywise we tried to help more businesses achieve compliance with our ESOS Amnesty. Finally, there was the ‘unofficial’ compliance deadline of 30 April 2016. From July 2014, this then gave businesses a total of 21 months to comply, yet plenty still failed to hit the deadline.

So what lessons have we learned from ESOS Phase 1?

Lesson 1 – the EA will enforce penalties

Even after all the Phase 1 deadline extensions, the EA confirmed earlier this year there were 500 organisations that should have complied with the scheme but had completely failed to engage. At that time, the EA had already served 300 Enforcement Notices to bring those organisations into compliance.

In a worst-case scenario, fines can be:

  • Failure to undertake an energy audit: £50,000 plus £500 per day for a maximum of 80 days, plus;
  • Failure to comply with a compliance notice, an enforcement notice or a penalty notice: £50,000 plus £500 per day for a maximum of 80 days.

Based on the above, we helped our ESOS Phase 1 clients avoid combined penalties of over £48,000,000. Start working towards compliance now; if the EA are issuing fines for Phase 1 they will certainly issue them for Phase 2.

Lesson 2 – Brexit means Brexit and ESOS means ESOS

Some businesses are under the impression that Brexit means they won’t have to comply with ESOS as it is derived from EU law.

Certainly until we leave the EU we must still comply with ESOS. The earliest Brexit could happen would be April 2019; by then, with at least 7,000 businesses needing to comply and with less than eight months until the deadline, many would be far down the line with compliance.

With the Phase 2 deadline being so close to the very earliest date we could leave the EU, it is inconceivable that ESOS would be scrapped ahead of the next compliance date.”

Sam Davidson, head of consulting operations, Utilitywise plc.

Find out more at our ESOS blog.

Lesson 3 – time is of the essence

Phase 2 of the ESOS scheme spans 6 December 2015 to 5 December 2019. In this Phase, businesses have had the full four-year period to complete compliance activities. However, now we’re in September 2017 there’s only 27 months until the compliance deadline. Our advice is to take action and begin ESOS Phase 2 compliance as soon as possible.

Reasons to act now:

  • Quality Lead Assessors are small in number. There’s only one for every 10 organisations. Even fewer are accredited to the more well-known bodies.
  • Gain a head start against your competition. An early start means you can avoid any bottleneck in resources as the deadline approaches. We believe the EA will be far less lenient in terms of late compliance this phase.
  • Protect yourself. Allow plenty of time to track down and collate your data.

We’re also offering end users the chance to spread the cost over multiple financial years and guarantee compliance in time. If you submit all necessary and complete data to us by 31 December 2018, we’ll guarantee your compliance.

Lesson 4 – there are plenty of savings to make

On average we found savings of three times the cost of compliance for our Phase 1 clients, with an average of 18% kWh savings per organisation.

In total, we identified 2.3 million tonnes worth of CO2 savings – the equivalent of 1,138 Wembley Stadiums full of carbon!

Over 70 organisations have already started their Phase 2 compliance journey with us. To find out more about the Utilitywise ESOS Phase 2 compliance service, you can download our guide, call 01527 511 757 or email

Amy Shaw

Posted by on Friday, the 15. September at 14.58

Amy is part of our Corporate Marketing Communications team, working on everything from product campaigns and event planning, to content writing and social media.