With the introduction of new protocols and an increasingly diverse spread of different sites, possibly across different countries, ensuring compliance in the energy market is an increasingly complex and constantly changing target.
Diversification and decentralisation
Over the past decade, the UK’s energy supply has diversified substantially, from a heavy reliance on coal to a mix of energy sources including off-grid generation such as micro-renewables and onsite heating and cooling.
However, with this decentralisation of the energy market, different methods of generation have differing legislation and regulations. Regulations are constantly changing to reflect the changes in policy, but the legal knowledge to accompany this is poor.
Penalties for non-compliance
Sanctions for breaching most environmental laws is the prosecution of an individual or company by the relevant regulator in the criminal courts, varying from fines right up to five years’ imprisonment.
For example, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) can issue fixed penalties of up to £50,000 per breach and has recently published the names of large businesses who have been fined for non-compliance and subsequent failure to rectify this, with 26 firms owing more than £240,000 to the Environment Agency to-date.
However, knowing the legal obligations that a business faces – let alone the compliance status – has to-date remained very difficult, time consuming and expensive.
Law is poorly organised, changes regularly, is not searchable and is written in complicated phrases. Partnering with a legal specialist and leveraging new technology that can provide automated information on your relevant legislation, and how to comply with the multitude of laws, is crucial for businesses.
Peace of mind
Removing any doubt or uncertainty, and with that removing the risk associated with non-compliance, allows energy generators to focus on their business and removes the headache of trying to understand the law and ensure compliance.
Our solution enables a business to pull up a specific site or operation and review the requirements, rather than being faced with a mammoth task of wading through reams of legislation to see if it needs to adhere to certain regulations, and then to work out if it does comply.
The evolution of the energy market is only increasing in its haste, as is the legislation to accompany each element. With both the ongoing decentralisation and geographical spread of energy companies and their sites, compliance will continue to be a challenge and it’s crucial that energy suppliers ensure compliance to avoid hefty fines or even prison sentences.
Download this Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) checklist, aligned with ISO 14001 to gauge your legal compliance status.
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