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Six in 10 UK firms not preparing for coming CRC

SkyscrapersMore than four out of 10 UK businesses aren’t aware of the government’s soon-to-go-into-effect Carbon Reduction Commitment, and nearly 60 per cent haven’t yet done anything to prepare for it, according to a survey by RSA, a commercial insurer and energy management firm.

Set to start next April, the CRC will require businesses to purchase allowances for every tonne of CO2 they emit. It is estimated that allowances will amount to 6 per cent of an organisation’s current energy spend, with related administration costs adding a further 5 per cent. That means a business with a £500,000 annual energy bill will likely need to spend £30,000 on allowances and £25,000 on compliance-related administration costs.

All companies subject to the legislation will be ranked in a public league table according to their energy use and rewarded or penalised depending on their chart position. Therefore, there are financial and reputational incentives to act early and reduce energy consumption. Despite this, RSA’s survey found that three quarters of businesses are unaware of when the legislation comes into force and almost 60 per cent have yet to start preparing.

RSA has designed forecasting and benchmarking tools to help companies accurately predict their energy use for the year while at the same time reducing their energy consumption. Such tools could help companies see significantly lower energy costs as well as a reduced requirement for buying allowances.

“CRC will be an important issue for many years to come and it is vital that organisations take advantage of the potential financial benefits by acting now rather than leaving it to the last minute and risking their company’s reputation and bottom line,” said Alex Matthias, energy management leader at RSA.

An organisation will be affected by the CRC if its annual half-hourly metered electricity consumption is greater than 6,000 megawatt-hours — equivalent to roughly £500,000 a year in electricity bills. This means it will include public and private sector organisations such as banks, insurers, local authorities, schools and retailers.

To help businesses avoid fines for failing to comply with the new legislation, RSA offers 10 suggestions:

  1. Identify stakeholders. Understand your company structure, identifying key stakeholders to ensure full reporting compliance. Omission of any information may lead to remedial action (ranging from criminal prosecution to fines) by the enforcing authority, The Environments Agency.
  2. Delegate responsibility. Advise key stakeholders of their responsibilities under CRC and set key milestones for the delivery of relevant information. It is vital that the information submitted under CRC is accurate and complete, therefore clear communication and accountability are important.
  3. Appoint someone to manage CRC. Appoint a designated signatory to report on CRC and a board member to sign off submissions. This is a requirement of the legislation.
  4. Gather information. Make sure access to energy data is available. Understand your group energy procurement processes and responsibilities and start gathering energy data now. Unnecessary delays could lead to missed deadlines and/or increased cost of compliance.
  5. Understand MPAN. Collect and record all MPANs (Meter Point Administration Number) to make collection and recording of energy data quick, simple and accurate. Early capture of all metering sources ensures no errors or omissions at the time of submission. This is a mandatory element of the submission.
  6. Explore early action metrics. There are two ways a company can qualify for bonus payments under the early action metrics: Obtaining the Carbon Trust Standard and setting up Automatic Meter Readings. This could place your company higher up in the league and potentially provide you with a bigger return in the early years of the scheme.
  7. Set aside a budget. There are substantial initial costs associated with CRC. Procurement could reach hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions. There will be fines for non-compliance so it is important that businesses have money put aside. Be mindful of the “double payment and recycling” element of first-year trading, meaning you will have to invest two years in one payment.
  8. Climb the league table. It makes good business sense to reduce energy and costs in the current climate, so create a strategy for league table positioning to maximise economic benefits of CRC participation.
  9. Realise it’s OK to seek help. Third-party validation of your submission will provide the finance director or managing director with the peace of mind that the submission is correct and there will be no financial ramifications. It is possible to self-certify under the scheme, but this would leave you wholly accountable for errors or omissions. Engaging with a competent company to validate your submission would create an additional benefit, as most of the work will probably need to be done in the early stages of the scheme and engaging in-house resource could be seen as cost ineffective in long run.
  10. Do not delay – start action now. The CRC goes into effect April 2010.

2 Comments

  • Nikki Ratcliffe
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Mark – you’re absolutely right.

    Simple steps can reduce an organisation’s energy consumption by 20 per cent and up to 75 per cent in some organisations, so we’re still surprised that enterprise has been slow to take advantage of the CRC.

    Smaller businesses too, those not subject to the new legislation, can save money and become more competitive by auditing, reporting and reducing energy usage.

    Nikki Ratcliffe
    Redstone Managed Solutions
    http://wesustain.redstonemanaged.co.uk

  • Mark Copeman
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 7:41 am

    We’ve found this to be the case too. Businesses for some reason seem to be burying their head in the sand.

    There’s two free videos at the link on this comment to get you thinking about the issues… and an extensive training programme for your staff too.

Comments are closed.

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