The Environment Agency (EA) has estimated around 70% of large UK firms are on course to complete an audit under the mandatory Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) by the January deadline.
In September, major waste firm and ESOS auditor Veolia warned that only 150 of an just under 10,000 eligible firms had submitted assessments to the EA, with those who did not comply by 5 December risking a fine.
But the EA announced in October that companies that have demonstrated a plan to comply with the policy and are making progress as of the deadline would be given an extension until 29 January to become fully compliant.
Now the regulator has revealed that 4,000 firms completed assessments by the December deadline, with 2,500 notifying their intent to comply late.
Of those 2,500, 87% are expected to meet the January deadline, which it says would take the overall compliance figure to about 70%.
EA ESOS project manager Jo Scully said: “Of course we’d have liked all organisations to be compliant by 5 December but we believe that the vast majority of organisations are both aware of their responsibilities and intend to comply.
“Our focus remains on bringing organisations into compliance with ESOS to ensure that the scheme delivers the energy savings and financial and environmental benefits intended.”
The EA reported a late increase in ESOS compliance as the December deadline passed, with only 1,682 submitting audits by 27 November.
Scully said the EA will write to all qualifying organisations it has not heard from to remind them of the need to implement the scheme.
Any organisation covered by the scheme that submits a notification of compliance after the January deadline risks enforcement action including a £50,000 basic fine, plus £500 a day after that capped at 80 days.
Veolia external engagement manager Nick Burchett told MRW that the company had assessed over 400 sites and buildings representing more than 7.3TWh of energy use to date as part of the scheme.
He said it was good to see a surge in compliance in the last few months and that companies who act on the results could reap financial benefits.
“By implementing energy saving measures they can gain from reduced cost and carbon footprint, improved resilience and reliability, and lower maintenance burden.
“There is a common perception that to reduce carbon emissions through lowering energy consumption requires a large capital outlay.
“This need not be the case as approaching necessary building improvements with energy use in mind can reap significant CO2 reductions which translate to savings on the bottom line.”