Energy performance contracts in the public sector offer a practical solution to make public buildings and other public infrastructures more energy efficient, as the initial investment can be covered by a private partner and repaid by guaranteed energy savings. However, frequently this type of contract simultaneously contains elements of a rental, service, lease, purchase or loan agreement, making its recording complex.
The Eurostat guidance note published today, on the accounting treatment of energy performance contracts, significantly increases the possibilities for public bodies to use such contracts, by including and clarifying the circumstance in which these contracts can be recorded off government balance sheets. It follows up on the work already undertaken by Eurostat to clarify the accounting rules for various types of public investment, including the Guide to the Statistical Treatment of Public Private Partnerships published last year.
In this way, the updated guidance paper is also in line with the third pillar of the Juncker Plan, which aims at removing regulatory barriers to investment. Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy said: "Energy efficiency first: from words to action. Thanks to the revised guidance published today, it will be easier for schools, hospitals, and other public buildings - which make up more than 10% of the overall EU building stock – to invest for the purpose of improving energy efficiency. Energy efficiency measures are also an important means to combat energy poverty, which this Commission aims at tackling at the roots."
Eurostat is the Directorate-General of the European Commission providing statistical information to the institutions of the European Union (EU) and promoting the harmonisation of statistical methods across its member states. At the request of Member States, Eurostat has worked with National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) to reflect on the most appropriate recording of energy performance contracts in government accounts, resulting in the guidance note published.