Business faces fines as Carbon Reduction Commitment deadline looms

Businesses are being warned that registering with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme could take weeks, as the 30 September deadline fast approaches.

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Businesses are being warned that registering with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme could take weeks, as the 30 September deadline fast approaches.

With the deadline just 10 days away, there are still 10,442 companies yet to sign up to the scheme as participants, non-corporate information declarers and corporate information declarers. The scheme came into force on 1 April.

Infrastructure specialists on365 have warned that the Environment Agency’s application process could take up to four weeks.

“Administration delays could mean the application takes longer than the nine working days remaining,” said Chris Smith, sales and marketing director at on365.

“The monetary penalties of missing the deadline could be financially crippling for a number of CRC eligible businesses, and the reputational damage from a company being listed as non-compliant could be irreversible.”

Meanwhile, Simon Wheeldon, CEO of cloud-based carbon management solution provider CloudApps, said: “It’s a two-stage process, submit and register. Businesses have to submit details about their meters, which then gets validated against the meter list that the Environment Agency holds, and then go back to press submit and register.”

He added: “The most difficult thing is gathering the information and identifying it, particularly at the granular level. Some of the information has come from six spreadsheets or so, so you have to go back to the source data, for example, the utility provider.

“It’s very difficult for some of our customers to find their meters – it can even be unsafe.”

However, a spokesperson for the Environment Agency insisted that the agency would not be using the deadline as an opportunity to penalise organisations.

She said that organisations would not be penalised “as long as you have made your best effort to get registered, if there’s a genuine reason."

But she refused to be drawn on how long a registering process could take: “It depends on the nature of the organisation. How long is a piece of string?" she said.

Participants of the CRC scheme are organisations that consumed at least 6,000 megawatt hours of electricity through all of their meters during 2008, which is equivalent to an electricity bill of around £500,000, and are required to participate in the scheme by monitoring their energy consumption and purchasing allowances.

As of 13 September, 2,209 participants, 609 non-corporate information declarers and 6,740 corporate information declarers had registered with the Environment Agency. The agency expects around 20,000 organisations to register in total.

Eligible organisations who do not register by the deadline will be fined £5,000, plus an additional £500 per day for each subsequent working day they fail to register up to a maximum of 80 working days.

Meanwhile, a survey released last week, by document management software company Version One, revealed that 22 percent of IT directors had not heard of the CRC scheme.

The snapshot survey of 86 IT directors and managers across a range of UK public and private sector organisations also found that while 42 percent were aware of the scheme, they did not know if their organisation qualified for it. Just 28 percent of respondents said they were aware of the scheme and had investigated their organisation’s eligibility.

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