Half of businesses expect ESOS to cost more than it saves

Almost half the businesses covered by the Government's Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) expect the scheme to cost them more money than they will save on energy bills, according to a new survey.

The survey of 205 businesses, carried out by energy, carbon and water consultancy firm Utilitywise, revealed a lukewarm response to the impending mandatory legislation.

As well as the 49% of businesses that expected the cost of compliance to outweigh potential savings, the majority of respondents expected to ignore the audit results.

Just one in five businesses said they will implement the recommended energy savings measures regardless, and 31% will only make changes to their energy usage if they can be guaranteed to see significant savings.

edie’s own Energy Managers Survey, released in April also revealed a lukewarm response to ESOS. Just 30% of affected respondents thought it would help identify savings and 9% said it would not inform plans at all.


ESOS requires all companies with more than 250 employees or a turnover of more than €50m to produce detailed reports on their energy use and efficiency every four years. Lead assessors will carry out an energy audit, paid for by the business, but there is no obligation to implement any of the efficiency measures identified. 

DECC, who introduced the mandatory scheme, estimates that if ESOS participants reduce energy by 0.7%, it would reduce their energy bills by more than £250m per year, to save around 3TWh per year of energy (the equivalent to 719, 424 average UK households

Nearly one third (31%) of businesses impacted by the new rules have not started the process yet, with 21% of businesses not even planning to begin until the autumn.

Jo Scully, ESOS project manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We have been raising awareness over the last year by sending letters to more than 14,000 organisations, holding workshops, publishing guidance on our website and setting up a dedicated helpdesk. We recommend that businesses who need to comply start the process as soon as possible.”


Northern Rail energy manager Gareth Williams recently told edie the best route to ESOS compliance was via ISO50001. Williams said: “My advice to other energy managers is simply to go and get an ISO5001 system in place, because it will give you benefit.

“Especially with ESOS coming up, there’s no reason not to put the system in place.”

Brad Allen

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