Firms that keep lights on all night could face steep fines under new rules aimed at cutting business gas and electricity consumption.
As part of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme, firms that use more than 6,000MWh of electricity a year (equivalent to an annual bill of £500,000) must register with the Environment Agency.
Comapanies will have to record their business energy use and, from 2011, will have to pay by the tonne for the carbon they emit. The worst business energy savers will face stiff fines, while the best will benefit from a range of financial rewards.
The Environmental Agency said the new measures will mean that major department stores and supermarkets, which are among the largest consumers of business energy, will be forced to end the practice of using bright illuminated signs and window displays.
Tony Grayling, head of climate change and sustainable development at the Environment Agency, said: "The CRC is an opportunity for large businesses and public sector organisations to play their part in reducing dangerous carbon emissions."
The Micropower Council recently called for more low carbon energy use in order to reduce bills from energy suppliers.
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