If your trustee company is a subsidiary of a parent group which had electricity bills of over £500,000 in 2008 or the pension scheme itself had substantial property holdings which between them ran up electricity bills of around £500,000 in 2008, it may need to register under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (“CRC”) or it could face penalties.

What is the CRC?

The CRC is a mandatory carbon trading scheme which affects most organisations with significant electricity bills in 2008. A company, or a group of companies, must register for CRC and buy carbon credits (allowances) if their aggregate UK electricity consumption from “half-hourly meters” in 2008 exceeded 6000MWh (about £500,000).

Must a trustee company register for the CRC?

If the trustee company meets either of the following tests, it should register for the CRC.

  1. A holder of property investments

Responsibility under the CRC scheme depends on the electricity supply arrangements. If the trustee company holds property directly in its own name (for example, as a landlord) and the electricity supply contract is in its name, energy use may be regarded as the trustee company’s (even if the cost is passed on to the tenant). Where the electricity supply contracts are in the name of the tenants it is unlikely that the trustee company will fall within the CRC.

It seems unlikely that a pension scheme’s trustee company will normally quality for the CRC scheme as a result of only its “own” electricity use. However, where the scheme had significant property holdings in 2008, the trustee should check the position with the scheme’s property advisers.

  1. Part of a group

The CRC treats a “group” of companies as a single organisation for purposes of participation in the CRC. It is more likely that a trustee company could qualify on the basis that it is part of a group of companies which collectively used at least 6000MWh electricity in 2008.

When must registration for the CRC be completed?

Qualifying companies or groups must complete their registration by 30 September 2010. As the CRC scheme administrator has a minimum two week validation period before accepting registrations, this means the latest date for submitting registration is mid- September.

Next steps

If the trustee company is part of a group which must register, it should already have been contacted by the sponsor about this issue. However, the trustee should ask the sponsor to confirm that it has taken the necessary steps to complete CRC registration.