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A leading energy service provider has warned that UK businesses must not take their eye off the ball when it comes to carbon cutting and compliance, despite the recent backlash against the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC).
Energy experts at Bergen Energi are reminding end users of the CRC’s significance in 2011 and urging them not to be put off by the confusion and chaos the scheme has generated since its inception.
The Government is currently considering simplifying the scheme in order to ensure employers stay engaged with CRC.
However, in the meantime, Simon Firth, Key Account Manager at Bergen Energi UK, urged many employers disillusioned with the CRC to keep it on their list of priorities.
He said this was probably the Government’s last chance to make a success of a scheme that had already become unwieldy and confusing to the majority of energy users.
He said: “There were changes made in December to a scheme that had already attracted a lot of scepticism – what was effectively a revenue-neutral scheme became an income generator for the Government. Furthermore, the postponement of the allowance buying phase until 2012 would have seemed like the final straw for many companies, who were already losing faith in the initiative after sign-up issues.
“With these changes to CRC, the Government didn’t just move the goalposts as much as take them away altogether. There is now no incentive for which businesses can aim and it is engendering a culture of watching our backs and avoiding fines, as opposed to genuinely aiming to achieve something beneficial for the environment.
“We would firmly welcome any improvements made to simplify CRC but the Government must act quickly – businesses are inevitably becoming disengaged with the CRC process and the drop-off rate will only increase.
“While you could argue that employers shouldn’t need incentives to reduce their energy use, I’d point out that, at a time like this when most are fighting tooth and nail just to turn a profit, an increase in administrative burden and another stealth tax is the last thing anyone needs.
“Reputational and CSR benefits will of course be taken into account but are unlikely to motivate in the same way a recycling of payment would, especially for those companies who just tip the consumption criteria.
“We’d estimate that most companies have spent over £50,000 on registration and consultancy fees to get through the first compliance stage, which is a cost they will now have to bear as there is no longer an opportunity to recoup this through excellent league table performance.
“It is no wonder may businesses have been left reeling and completely disillusioned.
“However, energy efficiency will certainly not be dropping off the political agenda over the next 12 months. Participants must be fully up to speed with any change to green initiatives like CRC and stay up to date, as there are likely to be more to come.
“Businesses risk getting stung even further with fines if they don’t continue to prioritise compliance. They must not let the delay in rolling out the next stage push carbon management on the back burner. Now is the time to start to implement intelligence from initial consultations and for shaping a greener future.
“Seeking regular advice from independent consultants like Bergen Energi with expertise in operational spend analysis, energy consumption measurement, industry legislation requirements and carbon management will be key to minimising any further cost liability and to staying ahead of the game.”
Issued on behalf of Bergen Energi by Adessi
For more information contact Beth Leonard at Adessi on
Tel: +44 (0) 113 256 9999
Fax: +44 (0) 113 256 9989
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