The Environment Agency has effectively extended the deadline for Esos submissions by confirming that firms are unlikely to face punitive action provided they have complied by 29 January. It has also confirmed that only the most serious cases will be face civil penalties.
Esos requires all firms with at least 250 employees or a turnover of £42.5m and a balance sheet of £36.5m to complete an energy audit which must be signed off by a director. Firms that fail to do so could theoretically face heavy fines.
Some 14,000 firms are captured by the scheme but as of October only 371 companies had notified the Environment Agency of compliance. Organisations that conduct audits and provide assessors have long warned that the vast majority of companies will miss the boat.
Legally the deadline remains 5 December and firms must complete an Esos audit and notify the Agency by then or be in breach of the regulations. However, the amendment to the Esos guidance, updated 8 October, now says companies will “not usually” face fines if they notify the Agency of compliance by 29 January and stick to the original deadline for notification of late completion.