Energy firm npower has issued a warning to businesses and the public sector that they risk facing financial and reputational penalties unless they act fast to meet the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) deadlines.
The alert comes as the latest Environment Agency figures reveal that fewer than 10% of those organisations that will be included in full in the scheme have registered for participation. Those that are still to register are also now at significant risk of missing out on the opportunity to disaggregate, which requires completed registration by 30th June.
The CRC’s disaggregation option allows those businesses with several subsidiaries to register them as separate participants, providing each meets the qualifying criteria. It means that dissimilar organisations within the same group ownership can be separated to prevent one being unduly influenced by the other.
Dave Lewis, head of business energy services, explains:
"The disaggregation option might seem like a simple administrative task, but it could potentially be a valuable route for many businesses. CRC participation is typically established at a group level, but being able to register companies separately could make collating data and submitting ongoing evidence packs simpler.
"There’s also the reputational benefits to consider. If the parent company’s name is little known publicly, for example, it could miss out on the brand value of a high position in the CRC league table.
"Bearing in mind the registrations that have been completed to date, we expect many to miss out on disaggregation, and instead be faced with managing CRC at a group level. This will bring its own challenges as data will need to be compiled and submitted for the whole group.
"The slow rate of registration so far also indicates that many organisations may not be actively tracking their energy use from 1st April this year in preparation for the year end footprint report. The longer organisations take to track this, the more challenging the task will become," he adds.
It is these challenges that npower is concerned many organisations are failing to manage, which could see them facing fines for late registration. Any participant that misses the final registration deadline of 30th September will incur an immediate fine of £5,000, plus an additional £500 per working day past the deadline, up to a maximum of 80 days. Non-compliance will also be published.
"Compiling all the data needed to register for CRC is no small task and while many are working hard to bring this together, time is running out. The summer months when internal resources are typically lower due to holidays could also present another challenge. Any organisation that hasn’t progressed with its CRC evidence pack could be up against it," Lewis says.
It is the reality of financial penalty that npower believes will lead many organisations to call on external support. npower’s own service, CRC Assist, which manages registration and ongoing participation in the CRC on behalf of organisations is proving increasingly popular, which the energy firm expects to continue.
"Participants need the peace of mind that CRC registration is taken care of. Calling on external expertise is proving the ideal route for many still grappling with the demands of the scheme," says Lewis.