07 September 2000 | David Arminas
Geographical difficulties are still hindering large water consumers hoping to benefit from water regulator Ofwat's recent lowering of the large user threshold from 250 megalitres a year to 100 megalitres, according to a water expert.
The change will allow close to 1,000 more companies to choose their water supplier through so-called inset appointments. "This is good news," said Gordon Reddish, a consultant at Energy Information Centre. "There were only a few hundred companies qualifying for insets and lower tariffs."
Large companies or organisations may have several sites, separated by a road, river or rail line, which combine to form the "three Rs" rule. Reddish said these were a problem for many users. While an organisation's total consumption may exceed 100 megalitres, if no site uses that much, it does not qualify for the lower tariff and a potential inset appointment. Reddish said that more water companies would consider aggregating site consumption to reach the threshold.
Southern Water had aggregated supplies at Southampton University before the threshold was lowered. Steve Morely, sales and services manager at Southern, said: "Water companies will now look carefully at the options."