Let’s assume for the purposes of this article that you think you are in ESOS, for example, because you are over the 250 staff qualification criteria. The three questions most people ask when they first call me are:
- What do I have to do?
- How much work is it?
- What is it going to cost?
The cost aspect I’ll cover in a separate article but in this article, I look at the first two of these questions: “How much work is it?” and “What do I have to do?”
How much work is it?
Firstly, if this is your first ESOS report you should anticipate a reasonable amount of work, especially if you are not prepared for it.
The Government research published earlier this year showed the average time that companies spent on doing an ESOS audit to be 13 days. As ESOS Lead Assessors, we will do most of the work for you, but we still need a lot of data from you, notably energy bills and details of your transport. This data, especially for larger companies, takes time to collect.
Some of my clients have this information readily to hand which means that collecting it is straightforward but other clients don’t have centralised energy data collection systems and, for them, it is much harder.
My tip: If you haven’t got systems in place already to centralise your energy-related data then now is an excellent time to do so. A tool such as Plato, our ESOS data processing software, can save a lot of time but if you want to do things without software, a shared drive, centralised filing system or even just allocating a single member of staff to be in responsible for this will help you massively later.
Now, on to the question of what you need to do …
At the start of the process
1 – Appoint someone internally to head up your ESOS Project
Ensure you have someone senior allocated to ESOS. Ideal “volunteers” for this would be the Compliance Director, Finance Director, Operations Director or Facilities Manager / Director. Problems arise if this responsible person is too junior. My advice would be to ensure that even if the day-to-day tasks are delegated they should have the full support of someone senior in the organisation.
A cautionary tale: With one client, a particularly badly-run (but well-known) construction company, it’s true to say that they found it “a nightmare” to get us accurate information. They allocated the entire project to a junior admin assistant who, despite promises by senior management to the contrary, was left unsupported in their efforts to collect all the energy information. A direct quote from on the morning of the day that their ESOS Submission was due to be filed: “I think we’ve found another £2million of energy spend we didn’t know about before. Is that a problem?”. In a word, “Yes”. A “full and frank” discussion with one of their directors remedied the situation but if they had managed the process better from the start, this mistake and the significant additional work it created could have been avoided in the first place.
2 – Appoint an ESOS Lead Assessor
The law requires that your ESOS audit must be signed off by a qualified ESOS Lead Assessor. I’ve seen only one or two companies who can genuinely navigate the complexity of ESOS on their own and in the vast majority of cases, the role of an ESOS Lead Assessor like myself is to keep the disruption to your business to a minimum, steer you in the right direction and do the majority the work required for you.
3 – Work with your ESOS Lead Assessor to ensure that all relevant companies, sites and transport items are included.
The Environment Agency are meticulous and insist that all of the energy used by a company or group of companies is included in the ESOS report, no matter how small.
At the start of the project, it is important, therefore, to write down what companies of yours, including sister companies and subsidiaries, are going to be included under ESOS and what energy consuming assets each of these companies operate.
In some cases, this is simple with one company, no subsidiaries, all operating from one site. In other cases, deciding which companies / sites / vehicles etc to include in ESOS is complicated. Either way, this first stage is critical and it is essential that everything that needs to be included is identified and planned for.
My Tip: Allocate some time to get this part of the process right otherwise your chances of being compliance audited by the Environment Agency go up significantly. For those people unaware of the joys of having an Environment Agency Compliance Audit, these audits are a lot of work / cost and extremely detail orientated. If you can lower your chances of being selected by getting this section of work done correctly, it is certainly worth it.
Every month during the data collection year
The data collection year is a 12-month period in ESOS where we collect and analyse your energy use. Typically, this runs from 1st January 2018 -> 31st December 2018.
Every month during this data collection period you should:
4 – Send your ESOS Lead Assessor your electricity, gas and “other energy” bills each month
We can then process them to work out how many kWh you used during each calendar month. Sometimes this is straightforward, electricity, for example, is reported in kWh when it is billed but in other cases such as for gas, we must manipulate the figures to ensure that the kWh values are interpreted correctly.
Also required are details of any “other” energy types you use such as oxyacetylene (welding), LPG (forklifts), heating oil etc. These all need to be included and, again, the Environment Agency don’t allow specific fuel sources to be excluded just because in your opinion you don’t use much of it.
5 – Send your ESOS Lead Assessor your company car fuel expenses each month
This is normally straightforward and a CSV export from your accounting system or fuel card provider is normally what is provided.
6 – Send your ESOS Lead Assessor your mileage expense claims each month
If your expenses system is automated, simply send a CSV export each month.
7 – For industrial companies, send us details of your production volumes each month
Earlier in the process, we will discuss what units of measurement make the most sense for your business to allow you to compare one month against another. Typically, it’s “tonnes of material processed,” “litres of chemical manufactured” or “number of widgets produced”. Whatever it is, once I know what production volume you had each month we can begin to understand how many kWh were used per thing produced / thing delivered etc.
One-off tasks during the data collection year
At some stage during the data collection year:
8 – Allow your ESOS Lead Assessor to audit your sites
We will need to visit a selection of your sites to carry out a site energy audit. These normally take around a day to do, although larger sites can stretch to 2 or 3 days. When we visit we take pictures and details of your energy consuming devices (air conditioning, lights, heaters etc) using our iPad Plato audit tool which we then analyse back at the office.
9 – Send your ESOS Lead Assessor details of your company cars
This should be straightforward, for each vehicle we need to know what type of vehicle it is, what fuel type it uses (petrol or diesel), how big the engine is and how the vehicle is used.
10 – Send your ESOS Lead Assessor details of what cars your staff drive (those who claim business mileage)
The same applies to staff-owner vehicles although data protection and GDPR present us with some difficulties here.
Normally, therefore, unless the staff mileage reclaims are significant, we can just work with you to create a statistical profile of the composition of your fleet. For example, “22% of vehicles are 1.1->1.6L small diesel cars” etc.
At the end of the data collection year
We’re on the home stretch now and all that is left to do is to check what we’ve done and then we’ll file your ESOS report with the Environment Agency for you.
11 – Work with your ESOS Lead Assessor to ensure that the report is accurate
It may sound obvious, but you know your site better than we do. Therefore, we might make some assumptions somewhere that you feel could be changed / improved. When we send you the draft report to check, you need to go through it to make sure we’ve got it right.
12 – Once you are happy with your report, sign, distribute and archive your ESOS Evidence Pack
As we stride confidently over the finish line, we need to now get the report considered by a senior director and signed off. This can be done by email (it normally is) although in many cases I would come and present the recommendations on how to save energy to a subset of the board so your company can consider our recommendations at the correct level.
Once you’re happy with the report and it has been signed off, we’ll file it with the Environment Agency for you. You should then file a copy of the report so it can be located if anyone needs it in future and distribute it for discussion so staff can consider the recommendations we’ve made within the ESOS report.
That’s it. By now, your ESOS report will have been prepared and filed and you will now be compliant with the ESOS regulations. The only thing to do now is brace yourself to repeat the process in another 4 years (although there is a rumour that it may be changed to be an annual requirement for ESOS Phase 3 and onwards. A great idea that would really focus attention on reducing corporate energy use but let’s wait and see what the Government decide on that one).
As usual, if you have any questions, please just get in contact, my details are below.
Want more information? Download our “Top 5 Tips On How to Make The Most Out Of ESOS”
Enistic help companies manage their energy and have been doing so since 2009. We are market leaders in ESOS auditing, energy monitoring via meters of all forms and we carried out over 2,000 ESOS site audits during ESOS phase 1. We develop and maintain Plato, a cloud-based Energy Management Platform that helps a large number of medium-sized and Enterprise level organisations manage their energy in real-time throughout the world, including several listed companies. We are based in Oxford but have distributors worldwide and have national reach when it comes to ESOS Audits.
If you would like more information about ESOS and see our Top 5 Tips On How to Make The Most Out Of ESOS, click here to download our guide.
Want some help? Speak to Darryl Mattocks
Darryl is the founder of Enistic and has personally been the responsible ESOS Lead Assessor on over 150 ESOS Audits. He advises on how to reduce energy use in over 2,000 sites throughout the UK and is doubly certified for ESOS by two independent ESOS approval bodies. He is an approved ISO50001 Lead Auditor and holds the industry-specific CEM and CMVP qualifications awarded by the Association of Energy Engineers.
He is happy to answer any ESOS or energy management related questions you may have and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01865 598 776.
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