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18 Nov 2010 11:11:44

Businesses offer cautious welcome to CRC

Business leaders cautiously welcome the simplification of CRC scheme, but urge government to deliver stable policy framework.
Business leaders have offered a cautious welcome to proposals to simplify the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, but many companies are still in shock about the government decision to keep any revenue it raises through the scheme, rather than recycle it to participants.
The reaction follows yesterday’s publication by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) of a consultation document outlining plans to push back the start of the trading part of the CRC scheme to 2013 to leave more time for improvements.
DECC’s consultation document also proposed exempting from the CRC scheme reporting organisations that only qualify as "information declarers" - those which have at least one half hourly meter, but do not use enough energy to qualify as "participants".
DECC’s consultation document has been welcomed by some sustainability experts as a way of saving time and money for firms, which added to the fact that the government has decided to keep the burden with the landlord, instead of the tenant, suggests the CRC scheme is unlikely to become a carbon tax.
It is uncertain how much the change on the CRC scheme would impact smaller firms
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the consultation document, which was announced at its Climate Summit in London yesterday, but urged the government to create a steady policy framework to reassure businesses and boost green investment.
Rhian Kelly, CBI head of climate change, said that exempting information declarers from the CRC scheme would significantly reduce the paperwork for businesses that own numerous properties with half hourly meters. However, she said it was uncertain how much the change would impact smaller firms with only one meter.
Kelly also said it was unclear how DECC would keep track of companies if they expanded and crossed over the qualifying threshold before the next phase began in 2012/2013.
A DECC spokeswoman said that it hopes to keep track of firms that have graduated to participant status through a database recording all energy meter usage at the Environment Agency. She said, "As they grow up, they will need to flag themselves up to us, but if they don't then we have the means to pair together the orphaned meters with relevant companies."
However, John McShane from business energy analysts Saturn Energy said that businesses were still bruised by the government decision to cut the "revenue recycling" component of the CRC scheme and turn it into a "stealth tax".

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