UK firms risk massive carbon fines

Green technology

Thousands of UK companies risk fines of up to 45,000 each if they fail to register under a Government scheme to cut carbon emissions.

Firms using large amounts of energy have until 30 September to register with the Environment Agency under the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme.

The scheme, designed to encourage companies to cut energy use, could hit IT departments especially hard.

Greenocity, a consultancy specialising in IT-related emissions, reckons that the top three sources of power consumption for a business are air conditioning, lighting and plug load, or power consumed by electronic equipment.

Tony Fisher, managing director of Greenocity pointed out that plug load is predominantly IT related. Many server rooms require up to 150 per cent more power for cooling than they use for the servers themselves.

According to Fisher, general business awareness of the CRC scheme is low. However, knowledge of the scheme in IT departments is almost zero. "This lack of IT awareness is shocking. Organisations will miss vital opportunities to reduce their energy bills and CO2 emissions", he said.

The Environment Agency has estimated that there are 4,000 organisations that use more than 6,000MWh of energy annually and therefore qualify for the scheme. Only 1,229 have registered so far.

Many of these companies appear be aware of the coming deadline. A further group of around 15,000 lower-energy users have to make an information disclosure under the scheme.

Failure to comply brings an initial fine of 5,000, and each unregistered organisation will then be charged a further 500 per day up to a maximum fine of 45,000.