A new poll carried out amongst companies eligible for ESOS has revealed that three quarters have yet to begin their ESOS audits and more than half have not yet appointed a Lead Assessor.
With fewer than 500 lead assessors available for more than 10,000 businesses, the poll results have prompted concerns about a bottleneck and potential rising costs of compliance as the 5th December 2015 deadline gets nearer.
The poll, carried out by a leading business energy consultant surveyed 105 end users about their ESOS audits progress. 47% admitted they had not yet begun any compliance activity, and a further 29% had appointed a lead assessor but not yet started the ESOS audits which form a major part of the compliance. Only five of those businesses questioned had completed their ESOS audits.
Despite the lack of progress, 79% of businesses still felt confident that their business will meet the ESOS deadline of 5 December 2015. However, Epsilon are warning against complacency as their own research confirms that only around 400 of the 500 approved Lead Assessors to date will be able to offer their services to third parties. With over 10,000 businesses expected to need to comply with the scheme, demand for Lead Assessors could well outstrip supply in the near future, and the cost of compliance could rocket accordingly.
The survey also identified that businesses are struggling with certain aspects of the scheme: 52% cited a lack of time and resource as the biggest barrier to compliance, and a further 27% admitted that identifying and collating data was the main challenge they face. Others mentioned the complexity of the scheme’s criteria and lack of buy in from senior management as a hindrance towards progress.
Epsilon is warning businesses not to leave it to the last minute to comply: audits typically take up to 2 – 3 months to complete, but only once the data has been collated, which could be a time intensive task. What’s more, businesses will need to engage a Lead Assessor at the start of their ESOS audits process; even those who hope to conduct audits themselves will need an assessor to agree on the ‘competency’ of the auditor and obtain sign off for the sample sites selected to audit, meaning the sprint for sign off is not as tempting as it might otherwise sound for time-poor energy managers.
Mike Glanfield, Energy & Resources Director at Epsilon, said: “Three quarters of businesses surveyed have yet to begin their site audits, and with an average timescale of two to three months to complete them, the crunch point is looming where there may not be enough Lead Assessors to meet demand. Businesses that are aiming for a sprint to sign off are also missing out on the opportunity that ESOS offers to take a strategic approach to identifying and delivering energy efficiency measures. The message is clear: businesses need to act now to ensure they have enough time to appoint an expert Lead Assessor to help make the ESOS audits process as productive and pain-free as possible.”