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What Are the Penalties for Electrical/ Energy Non-Compliance?

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what are the penalties for electrical non compliance?

Electrical non-compliance can eventually cause serious damage to people and property. But sometimes, people and property alone aren’t enough to make businesses think twice. That’s where financial penalties come in.

While the risk of damage seems a world away, financial penalties can hit your business where it hurts and instantly turn electrical compliance into the cheaper option. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the electrical compliance requirements for business sites and how you could be penalised for non-compliance.

EICR reports

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) checks the condition of your electrical system, including wiring, bonding, equipment and any potential faults that could cause shocks or fires.

Broadly speaking, they’re recommended every five years for commercial properties and every three years for industrial sites. However, it’s up to the inspector to recommend a frequency based on their report findings, which can depend on a number of factors:

  • Age of the installation
  • Quality of the installation
  • Who is using it
  • How often it’s used
  • Guidance from the manufacturer
  • How well the equipment is maintained

Although an EICR is not a legal requirement in itself for businesses, many property owners are bound by legal obligations to their staff, customers or tenants which can be met by an EICR inspection.

Additionally, residential landlords are legally obliged to have an EICR report every five years and provide that report to:

  • Existing tenants within 28 days of the test
  • New tenants before they occupy your premises
  • Prospective tenants within 28 days of a request
  • Local authorities within seven days of a request

Failure to carry out any of the above can result in a penalty of up to £30,000 for residential landlords.

To give you an idea of the potential fines, a Leeds company was found to have breached the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) when they failed to identify a risk of crushing between two machines. After an employee was killed in 2014, they were eventually fined £285,000.

PAT tests

PAT testing refers to the safety of any portable appliances – which are plugged into your electrical system. While there are no penalties specifically for PAT testing, failure to maintain safe equipment could cause a breach of related laws, including the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and Electricity at Work regulations (1989).

As is also the case for EICR non-compliance, this could lead to significant financial penalties and even imprisonment. In short, if someone is harmed at your property, the courts will look for PAT and EICR testing to check whether you were at fault. Regular testing is a simple way to prevent accidents and protect yourself as well as tenants or employees.

Not convinced? Hickman Engineering was fined £3,000 after a serious shock to one of their employees. If the company had implemented regular PAT testing, it would have reduced the likelihood of the incident occurring.

Energy reporting

While not solely electrical, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requires businesses to reduce their energy output wherever possible.

Your company or organisation must comply with ESOS if:

  • You have over 250 members of staff, or
  • A turnover of over 50 million Euros (£44.1m) or an annual balance sheet of over 43 million Euros (£37.9m)
  • You are an overseas organisation with over 250 employees in the UK
  • Your company is part of a larger organisation, which falls into any of the above

After the initial assessment, reviews are required every four years. If you don’t comply with those requirements, you could face a fine of up to £50,000 or £500 per day after failing to submit ESOS audits on time.

Similarly, Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) requires companies to report their own energy use and carbon emissions. While penalties are yet to be published, it’s thought they could be as much as £40,000.

That’s certainly backed up by a series of fines issued in 2018, ranging from £1,560 to £45,000. A total of 15 businesses – including ecommerce platforms eBay and Gumtree – were found to be non-compliant, facing a combined penalty of £157,770. While the online giants might be able to brush off their fine of £12,150 each, it might not be as easy to stomach for a normal UK business.

Fire safety

Similar to EICR and PAT testing, fire alarms aren’t subject to specific penalties for non-compliance. Instead, failing to maintain them properly will breach other regulations, such as the Fire Safety Order, which will leave you responsible for any damage or harm caused by fire on your premises.

As you might expect, this can result in unlimited fines and up to two years in prison, with fines of £5,000 just for minor offences. In February 2021, for instance, a pub in Bristol was fined a whopping £120,000 after bosses were found to be lax about fire safety laws – even though nobody was injured.

Protect your business from penalties

Whether it’s fire safety, electrics or energy reporting, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Volta Compliance can make sure your business is compliant, with a range of electrical compliance services in Leeds and across the UK. To find out more, simply drop us an email at [email protected] or call 0113 397 1361.

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.