Online accounting

The Environment Agency’s online CRC registry should allow participants to perform all standard transactions over the internet, including registration, buying and surrendering allowances, and reporting annual fuel and electricity use. League tables will be generated from the registry data provided.

All participants must register through the portal by the end of September. The process includes validation of identity, which will take about two weeks. This will allow access to general CRC services and an individual online account linked to the agency’s top-level registry.

The agency has discretion over enforcement and has said it will take a pragmatic view during the 2010-13 introductory phase. So it is unlikely to take action over slightly late registrations for genuine reasons, such as last-minute portal failure in 2010. But it points out early registration would avoid this.

To keep the registry manageable, only top-level emissions data will have to be entered, but it must be backed up by a detailed evidence pack.

In phase one, the agency expects most allowances to be bought in the annual fixed-price sales starting in April 2011. Allowances can also be bought in the monthly ‘safety valve’ sales from August 2011.

From 2013, an auction platform will replace the registry’s fixed-price sales area. This will work on a ‘sealed bid, uniform price’ basis. Participants will submit a schedule of the total allowances they would buy at a series of given prices. The software will then generate a single clearing price.

There have been problems with fraudulent access of EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) accounts on the continent. The agency is keen to stress its early move to digital certification. This means trading in both the EU ETS and CRC can only happen through a single identifiable computer. This approach is backed up by the use of security testing, anti-hacking measures, monitoring for unusual trading patterns, and other due diligence, it says.

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