Paolo Soro

Becoming an ESCO company in Dubai

We took a look at the most important ongoing project in Dubai that was set-up by the RBS – Regulatory and Supervisory Bureau of UAE for Energy, Electricity and Water: it is named ESCO.

Dubai has set ambitious targets to improve the efficiency of energy use in the emirate, aiming for a 30% improvement by 2030. It is supported by a Demand Side Management (DSM) strategy which is overseen by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.

ESCOs, or Energy Service Companies, are seen as a potentially valuable way of delivering energy savings. The distinctive feature of ESCOs is that they offer “performance contracting”, that is they assume some risks for the delivery of the energy saving measures they propose to a client.

The RSB (Regulatory and Supervisory Bureau of UAE Energy) has developed a regulatory framework intended to support the ESCO market, comprising an accreditation scheme for ESCOs, standard contracts for use by ESCOs and their clients, a protocol for measuring and verifying energy and water savings, and a tailored approach to resolving disputes.

The accreditation scheme aims to give prospective clients confidence in contracting with ESCOs by recognizing companies which have: appropriately qualified personnel in the organization; robust financial status; and a track record of successfully delivering energy saving projects here in Dubai.

It is also developed a provisional accreditation option to recognize ESCOs that have a robust financial structure and appropriate skills and qualifications to deliver ESCO projects but do not have the required track record of project delivery in Dubai to achieve full accreditation.

The decision to accredit ESCOs is made by an accreditation board which will assess applications according to the criteria set out in the application process. The board has powers both to accredit ESCOs and to remove accreditation if the company subsequently fails to meet the accreditation criteria. Members of the accreditation board come from the RSB and from Etihad Energy Services (EES). EES has been established to fulfil the role of “super-ESCO” in Dubai, working with other ESCOs to deliver energy savings projects for public and private sector clients.

The RSB, having now had the experience of running the ESCO Accreditation scheme for more than 19 months, is aligning the requirements for staff qualifications for Provisional Accreditation with those for Full Accreditation. Effective 2 September 2015, new applicants for Provisional Accreditation will require a Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) in addition to either a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) or a Certified Energy Manager (CEM).

Current provisionally accredited ESCOs should be given a period in which to adjust to these new requirements. Therefore, this new requirement will only apply to renewals due on or after 6 March 2016, giving a minimum of six months for existing accredited organisations to meet the new requirements.

The accreditation scheme has been developed to:

-          Ensure the delivery of high quality services by technically and financially sound companies, so that customers do not receive an unsatisfactory experience when contracting for energy savings;

-          Reduce transaction costs for both customers and ESCOs by identifying a qualified pool of providers;

-          Encourage the provision of increased breadth, sophistication, and quality of services for customers.

The accreditation scheme is not applicable to the following parties:

1)      Subcontractors to ESCOs;

2)      Employees (although the accreditation process considers ESCO personnel competence).

Nor does this accreditation scheme seek to set standards for design, technologies, or equipment performance.

This scheme offers two types of accreditation: Full Accreditation and Provisional Accreditation.

Full Accreditation is for established ESCOs which have carried out successful Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) projects and fulfil the key criteria. Full Accreditation costs AED 15,000 in application fees and is valid for 3 years.

To encourage new entrants to the ESCO market, companies without a sufficient track record of EPC work to qualify for Full Accreditation, may apply for Provisional Accreditation.

Provisional Accreditation costs AED 5,000 in application fees and is valid for one year. The Applicant may seek renewal of provisional accreditation on a yearly basis, up to a maximum period of 3 years. After 3 years of provisional accreditation, the ESCO must either apply for full accreditation or withdraw from the scheme. Full Accreditation is granted if the applicant successfully meets the Full Accreditation requirements.

Applications should be made electronically and emailed to

In submitting an application, an applicant is deemed to acknowledge that the sole basis of such an application is the submitted document.

A full and complete submission must be submitted together with a cheque for AED 15,000 for full accreditation or AED 5,777 for provisional accreditation payable to the “Supreme Council of Energy” (payment via bank transfer is also acceptable).

The Accreditation Board shall not evaluate any partial or incomplete submission.

New and renewal applications are the responsibility of the accredited organisation. In any case where renewal is not completed prior to the expiry of the accredited period, the company shall be removed from the registered list until further action by the company has been taken to secure accreditation.

The Accreditation Board accepts no responsibility for any expenses, loss or damage which may arise from the evaluation process, interpretations and preparation made by the Applicant, including the information contained therein, or omission from the submitted documents.

All materials and information submitted with the application will be held in strict confidence and shall be used for assessment purposes only.

Any inquiry or clarification with respect to an application can be made via email to

An accreditation certificate will be issued upon successful application and the accredited ESCO will be registered on a list of accredited ESCOs posted on the RSB’s website.

A Provisional Accreditation and Full Accreditation award will be valid for a period of 1 year and 3 years respectively. At least two months prior to the expiration date, a renewal application must be submitted with the relevant documentation and approved by the Accreditation Board. It is the responsibility of the ESCO to ensure accreditation does not lapse.

For renewal of Provisional Accreditation, the applicant has to complete 3 full audits each year.

Successful applicants shall conduct their business in a professional and ethical manner according to the applicable government laws and regulations.

During the period of accreditation, if there are no full-time certified energy professionals employed by the company as per the scheme requirements, the company will be removed from the register of accredited ESCOs until notification by the company rectifying the omission and fulfilling the relevant full or provisional accreditation requirements.

It is the responsibility of the accredited ESCO to promptly notify the RSB of any change within the company with respect to the details and/or employment of certified energy professionals.

An accredited company may have the accreditation withdrawn or suspended for the following reasons:

-          Failure to complete any EPC or energy audit work during the year;

-          Complaint(s) lodged by client(s) for consistently delivering poor quality work;

-          Financial insolvency;

-          Malpractice and/or fraud;

-          Major change to the company structure and/or personnel;

-          Submitted misrepresented information;

-          No full-time CEA/CEM/CMVP in the Company as required.

The Accreditation Board, at its sole discretion, may remove an accredited company from the register; or temporarily suspend any member on the register for a period deemed appropriate.

An accredited company should notify the Accreditation Board within a period of one month if there are any changes to the company’s ownership, financial status, structure, and/or staff capabilities as required. Failure to do so may result in the suspension of the company from the Register of accredited ESCOs.

The Register of Accredited ESCOs will be made public and available for use by private and public organisations and agencies in selecting and engaging ESCOs to submit proposals for any energy efficiency related work or projects.

comments powered by Disqus