SECR: How to simplify data collection

When we’re supporting businesses with compliance with energy reporting schemes like the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) scheme, many tell us that the most time-consuming aspect of compliance is collating the data they need to report on. It’s often not a straightforward task, as most businesses will have to collect data from different places and it may be provided in different formats, and all data must also be checked for accuracy. 

At a time when many businesses are already stretched for time and resources, we want to make it easier for businesses to achieve SECR compliance. The good news is that if you find the data collection element of SECR is a burden for your business, there are some tools and processes you can put in place to simplify the process. 

Here are our SECR experts’ top tips:

 

Get started early

It might sound simple, but too many businesses leave data collation to the last minute. It’s really important to start collecting data on your energy usage as soon as possible, to ensure you’re not rushing around trying to get the information you need just weeks before you have to submit your report – because often, it’s not as easy to collect as you might think!

In 2020/21, for example, many energy managers struggled to access their data because they couldn’t get on site, or because the colleague that usually managed that data was working remotely or furloughed. While these were exceptional circumstances, there are plenty of more common blockers that could prevent you from getting the data you need in a short timeframe – your supplier or landlord might take a while to send it over to you, for example. If you’re required to report on your Scope 3 emissions, you’ll rely even more heavily on external parties to provide the data you need. Therefore, you should engage anyone who holds the data you need (whether internal or external) as early as possible, to give them plenty of time to get that data to you. 

 

Install an energy management software

Technology has made so many aspects of our lives easier over the past few decades, and there are now plenty of energy management solutions that can help to make energy reporting simpler, too. So if you don’t already have energy management software in place, now is the time to consider the options available to your business. 

While functions and features will vary, most energy management software should give you a clear view of your energy consumption across all of your sites. Ideally, you should look for a solution that can give you real-time information across all of your utilities. If it can automatically import this data from a range of different sources – from supplier invoices to profile data from your half-hourly meters – and validate the data, too, you should find that you have reliable, up-to-date data you need to include in your SECR report with very little work required from your team.

 

Streamline your data collation 

If your business is one of the many required to report under both SECR and the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), you can make reporting under both schemes easier for your in-house team by streamlining your data collation and reporting processes. 

SECR requires annual reporting, while you only submit an ESOS report every 4 years – but for one in every four years, you’ll be required to submit two energy reports. Fortunately, they both require the same data, which means that you can save time by aligning your ESOS reference period with your financial year.  You will need to ensure your data covers the ESOS qualification date – which for Phase 3 is 31st December 2022 – but by aligning your reference period with your financial year, you can use the same data for both reports. This means you’re not duplicating your efforts and should substantially reduce the time you spend collecting data.

 

Outsource your data collation duties

Sometimes, even with robust data collection tools and processes in place, you can still find it a struggle to get all the information you need on time – especially if your auditors require a tight turnaround. That’s where having external support can reduce your workload significantly.

Our experts can do all of the hard work involved in SECR compliance for you, so that you can rest assured that you’ll achieve compliance with minimal hassle to your in-house team. Much of that work involves collating the data you need – we’ll chase your suppliers, landlords and any other external parties for the data they hold, for example, and we’ll verify its accuracy. Many of our business customers like having our support every step of the way, as it means they can concentrate on their core operations, but with our range of SECR services you can choose to have as much or as little support as you’d like. Find out more on our SECR page, or give us a call on 01772 689 250.