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Embrace CRC for all-round benefits

Many UK businesses that do not register their energy use with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme initiative by 30 September will face heavy fines. According to consultancy WSP Environment & Energy this could be as many as 7,500 businesses.
Many businesses have complained about the burden and timing of punitive fines as the economy emerges from recession and difficult trading conditions continue.

Missing the Sept 30 deadline will mean an immediate £5,000 fine, and £500 for each day after that, up to a maximum of £45,000.

'While the CRC implementation has come in for some uninformed criticism, specifically around timing and communication, our view is that many organisations that already have the structures and processes in place to effectively manage their energy consumption and carbon emissions will be well placed to benefit from the CRC,' said Sabien Technology's CEO Alan O'Brien.

'We suspect that apathy is playing a major part here for those companies which haven't registered. In our view the CRC is to be welcomed as a world first and UK businesses can be leaner - more cost efficient as well as improving their environmental credentials.

'What has become clear is that the many businesses that haven't registered are burying their heads in the sand as they realise they do not have the infrastructure or support to meet the legislation.

'The CRC is hardly new news. The CRC has been widely debated in the industry for some time so, in our view, lack of preparation is not going to wash. Companies have had plenty of time prepare.' said O'Brien.

'Organisations which have failed to base-line their energy consumption or effectively record and manage their data will find it stressful and challenging to have the information in place and submitted to the Environment Agency by September 30,' said O'Brien.

'But it is important to be balanced here: during the last eight to 12 months many energy managers in the private and public sector have been busy implementing automated meter readers across their estates to remove the reliance on estimated bills and any error in the data submitted.

'Some are investing to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard or equivalent to achieve the 'early action' metrics and increase their position in the published league tables.

'There will almost certainly ensue a last minute panic to have the information packs completed and submitted, but on the plus side the Environment Agency has stated it will work with those organisations struggling with the submission,' he said.

While the end of September is the deadline for organisations to submit their energy consumption and carbon emission data, O'Brien said the real challenge will hit in April 2011 as organisations need to demonstrate year on year reductions and buy their allowances.

'The CRC participants will also need to review their investment criteria for energy efficiency technology. The typical two-year payback criteria may be extended once the additional cost risks of the CRC and future energy price increases are factored in,' he added.
23 August 2010

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