If you are covered by the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) and have missed the deadline of 29 January 2016 you should expect enforcement action by the regulator in the near future.

ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for all large UK businesses (250+ employees or turnover of EUR 50m).  Such businesses are required to take prescribed steps to assess their energy use and identify efficiency savings.  Having done so, businesses must then report their compliance.  The deadline for doing so expired on 5 December 2015. 

Those who missed the deadline had some breathing space: DECC indicated that enforcement action would "not normally" be taken provided the notification of compliance was received by 29 January 2016.

However, that informal moratorium on enforcement has also now expired, and DECC's position is rather more ominous: the gov.uk website states that "If you will not be compliant by 29 January 2016 then your case will be reviewed and you may hear from your regulator regarding enforcement action".

The regulator in question depends on your principle place of business: in England it is the Environment Agency and in the devolved administrations it is Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Environment Protection Agency or Northern Ireland Environment Agency. 

So what do you do if you are now the recipient of a letter from your regulator?

Don’t panic! You should note that you won't be the only one: on 1 February the Environment Agency announced that around 3,000 of the 10,000 businesses subject to ESOS have not submitted anything.

You should understand the risks: the sanctions vary from an enforcement notice compelling compliance through to civil fines up to £50,000. An enforcement notice is likely to be the first step.

You should prepare your mitigation and your strategy for compliance: the regulators have discretion on enforcement and will treat a business that can demonstrate a willingness to comply far more favourably than a business that puts its head in the sand.

Don't delay: Being in the final third of businesses to reach compliance is one thing, being amongst the last is another.