An audit for audit’s sake doesn’t make for good practice

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

You could be forgiven for struggling with the DECC’s published guidance on ESOS as it’s not an easy read but, in the Department’s defense, the devil is always in the detail so DECC is obliged to set it all out.

The EI, as a supporter of ESOS with resources to enable its implementation, has produced a simple guide to help senior executives of companies that must comply with this new mandatory scheme to complete energy assessments and identify energy savings opportunities. Broadly speaking, if your UK business has

1) 250 or more employees
2) an annual turnover of more than 50M Euros and
3) a balance sheet of more than 43M Euros

you and any other UK organisations will need to comply. There are nuances to all of this so it’s worth reading the detail or contacting DECC for advice well ahead of the end of this year.

Compliance requires you to estimate your total energy consumption and audit the areas of most significance for a report which is signed off at company board level and lodged with the Environment Agency.

Now that’s where compliance stops and good practice starts. Why? Because it’s good for the bottom line and can turn loss into profit, it’s good for the environment and demonstrates the social pledges companies can make and the benefits that can be passed onto the customer. So don’t stop at the filing of the report, don’t even stop when you celebrate the first year’s energy and financial savings. The clue is in the title – energy savings opportunity scheme….

Setting standards

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting people from around the world, brought together by the fact that we were all part of the energy industry, and in this case, focused on sharing knowledge in the oil and gas sector at the 21st World Petroleum Congress in Moscow. A common worry during the event was the bottleneck that the industry is facing across the board – albeit to different degrees in different geographies – to attract, develop and retain a talented, diverse and competent workforce, in a range of key roles where we know gaps exist, from technicians to the next industry leaders. This was confirmed at the session I chaired later in the week on that very theme.

Back in the UK, the topic of standards and accessing the competence to attain them reigns strong. Why? Well, this week, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is launched – to help the UK to meet Article 8 of the EU’s Energy Services Directive. This means large companies will need to regularly audit their energy performance – using competent people to do so. As the industry’s professional body, the EI has been advising the UK Government about what competent in this context means – reflected in the membership of the EI’s Register of Professional Energy Consultants and so we are ready to support the scheme. Ultimately, competence is essential for the industry to operate to the highest standard, whether in drilling oil wells or identifying opportunities for energy saving. But there’s another reason why we should worry. If the energy industry is to gain public trust, demonstrating the competence of its practitioners will go a long way to help.