Details of Water Charges for Families with Children

The proposed figures for the metered and unmetered water charges have been published- and we have made some fresh  estimates of how much water bills will be.

How the metered water charges will be calculated.
The metered water bills will be made up of 2 components – a water usage charge and a waste water charge.
The first 30,000 litres a year will not be charged for – but after that there will be a charge of €2.44 for every 1000 litres of water consumed. There will also be an identical charge of €2.44 per 1000 litres for waste water services.
Wastewater output will not be measured – it will be assumed to be the same volume as the water consumption.  If a house has it’s own waste water system or septic tank there will be no charge for waste water.  So – for the majority of Irish households that are connected to both the mains water and the sewage mains – they will be charged €4.88 for every 1000 litres of water used over and above 30,000 litres.

There are no useful accurate figures available (yet) on household water usage in Ireland – but we have done some research into water usage figures in the UK. We think is a fair assumption that water usage here in Ireland will be broadly similar to the UK. We have worked out the averages from water consumption figures obtained from 4 large UK water companies. (The household sizes from the UK are not split into adults and children)

The table below gives a summary of the average estimated water consumption figures from our research for various sized households. We also show the estimated annual metered water charges that households can expect from Irish Water based on this usage.

The estimated water charge figures shown below are the total expected for a combined bill for both water and wastewater.

In the table below – the usage is litres per year and the charges are calculated for families of 2 adults with varying numbers of children under 18. (Each household gets  30000 l free allowance and each child will get a 21000 litre allowance .  Estimated charges for households made up of just adults can be seen here.

Estimated Water Charges for Couples with Children Under 18

People in Household
Low Usage
Estimated Water Charge
Medium Usage
Estimated Water Charge
High Usage
Estimated Water Charge
1 Adult
56786
131
68405
187
89667
291
2 Adults
89490
290
113609
408
139000
532
2 Adults
1 Child
111286
294
138115
425
174667
603
2 Adults
2 Child
129693
282
157761
419
202333
636
2 Adults
3 Child
151621
286
181490
432
236000
698
2 Adults
4 Child
183651
340
215770
497
276667
794

Note: All figures shown here assume that a household gets a water supply from Irish Water and is also connected to the mains sewage system .
If a home has a septic tank or other waste water treatment – then the water charges will be half of the figures shown above.

It is also important to note that it is proposed that all metered household water bills will be capped for the first 6 months at the “assessed charge” based on the number of adults in the household. So the first uncapped metered bill anyone will receive will be in July 2015 for the period  April/May/June 2015.

More information on Assessed Water Bills  Here

Free Allowances for Children
:
The government originally said there would be a free allowance for children of “upto” 38000 litres a year. They said that the allowance would be enough to cover the “normal water consumption of a child“. Irish Water have been monitoring water usage of some metered households with and without children in order to work out how much water the “average” child uses. The CER now say that it looks like the “normal” water consumption of a child is 21000 litres – so now 21,000 litres appears to be the proposed free allowance for each child under 18.

In the table above we have shown figures for Low,Medium and High water usage households – for your information these general classifications are ….

Low Usage Households : would make occasional use of a washing machine,Take shower in preference to bath (but not power showers), Mostly absent from house during the week days)

Medium Usage Households: would use washing machine most days,Shower most days with occasional baths. Use dishwasher most days.

High Usage Households: would make daily use of a washing machine, Daily baths or daily use of a power shower.Regular use of a hosepipe or sprinkler and frequent use of water throughout the day.

Unmetered Water Bills
When billing starts – the majority of homes will not have water meters. It will be 2016 before all the proposed meters are due to be installed and there will be about 300,000 homes where meters willl never be installed. These unmetered homes will have water bills based on an “assesed” charge which will basically be a flat rate annual charge determined by the number of adults in the household . More information on Unmetered Bills Here

If a house has it’s own well and it’s own wastewater system – they will not be billed at all by Irish Water.

See some figures here on various day to day household activities and how much water they can use. http://www.moneyguideireland.com/water-charges-some-more-meaningful-figures.html

Figures for Water Charges Released.

The proposed figures for the metered and unmetered water charges have been published today by the CER  – and we can now make much more accurate estimates of how much the metered water bills will be. (Details of water charges for unmetered homes here)

We had a go at estimating how much  the Metered Water Charges might be back in May 2014 – you can see those estimates here.   Based on the latest figures published today – the Water Charges will be significantly  higher than we initially estimated.  Our first estimates were based on  misleading information given by Minister Hogan back in May when speaking on RTE( 21 mins in). He stated that a single person household on a metered charge using  78,000 litres would  be charged €138 a year. He seems to have neglected to mention that this was just the water usage charge and that there would be a corresponding charge for waste water for the majority of people. (Or maybe he was just wrong)

How the metered water charges will be calculated.
The metered water bills will be made up of 2 components  – a water usage charge and a waste water charge. . If a house has it’s own waste water system or septic tank there will be no charge for waste water.  There will be no Standing Charge.

The first 30,000 litres a year  will not be charged for – but after that there will be a charge of €2.44 for every 1000 litres of water consumed. There will also be an identical charge of €2.44 per 1000 litres for waste water services.
Wastewater  output will not be measured – it will be assumed to be the same volume as the water consumption. So -  for the majority of Irish households that are connected to both the mains water and the sewage mains – they will be charged €4.88 for every 1000 litres of water used over and above 30,000 litres.

There are no useful accurate figures available  (yet) on household water usage in Ireland – but we have done some research into water usage figures in the UK – and it is a fair assumption that water usage here in Ireland will be broadly similar to the UK. We have worked out the averages from  figures obtained from 4  large UK water companies. (The household sizes from the UK are not split into adults and children)

The table below gives a summary of the average water consumption figures from our research for various sized UK households. We also show the estimated annual metered water charges that  households can expect from Irish Water based on this usage.

The estimated water charge figures shown below are the total expected for a combined bill for both water and wastewater.

In the  table below – the usage is litres per year and the charges are based on all occupants being over 18. (So just the 30000 l free household allowance is used in the calculation)

People in Household
Low Usage
Estimated Water Charge
Medium Usage
Estimated Water Charge
High Usage
Estimated Water Charge
1
56786
131
68405
187
89667
291
2
89490
290
113609
408
139000
532
3
111286
397
138115
528
174667
706
4
129693
486
157761
623
202333
841
5
151621
594
181490
739
236000
1005
6
183651
750
215770
907
276667
1204

Free Allowance for Children :
The government originally said there would be a free allowance for children of “upto” 38000 litres a year. They said that the allowance would be enough to cover the “normal water consumption of a child“. Irish Water have been monitoring water usage of some metered households with and without children in order to work out how much water the “average” child uses. The CER now say that it looks like the “normal” water consumption of a child is 21000 litres  – so  now 21,000 litres  appears to be the proposed free allowance for each child under 18.  See our worked out estimates for families with all children under 18 here

In the table above we have shown figures for Low,Medium and High water usage households – for your information these general classifications are ….

Low Usage Households : would make occasional use of a washing machine,Take shower in preference to bath (but not power showers), Mostly absent from house during the week days)

Medium Usage Households: would use washing machine most days,Shower most days with occasional baths. Use dishwasher most days.

High Usage Households: would make daily use of a washing machine, Daily baths or daily use of a power shower.Regular use of a hosepipe or sprinkler and frequent use of water throughout the day.

Unmetered Water Bills
When billing starts – the majority of homes will not have water meters. It will be 2016 before all the proposed meters are due to be installed and there will be about 300,000 homes where meters willl never be installed. These unmetered homes will have water bills based on an “assesed” charge which will basically be a flat rate annual charge determined by the number of adults in the household . More information on Unmetered Bills Here

Note: All figures shown here assume that a household gets a water supply from Irish Water and is also connected to a the mains sewage system . If a house has it’s own well and it’s own wastewater system – they will not be billed at all by Irish Water.
Govt funding for Irish Water is fixed until 2016 – so all the charges could change again in 2016 if funding is reduced.

Back in May this year – government ministers were saying that figure for water usage by an average single adult household is 78,000 l per year. If this is the case – then the metered charge for this “average” single person who is also connected to the mains sewer will be €234 . If that “average” single person  household has their own waste water treatment system / septic tank – then their metered water bill will be half that (€117) a year.

The government also said that an average two person household uses 115000 litres of water  a year.  A couple , with a meter ,using this  expected average of 115000 litres will be charged €415 or (€208 if they treat their own waste water)

It is important to note that it is proposed that all metered household water bills will be capped for the first  6 months at the “assessed charge” based on the number of adults in the household.

(More about Assessed Unmetered Bills Here)


Isn’t the average water usage per person 150l a day or 55000l a year?

Irish Water tell us on their website that the average water usage per person is 55,000 litres a year . Of course – that doesn’t mean everyone uses 55,000 litres each. Families doing cooking and washing together will use less per person on average. A small child will use a lot less water than an adult – for example a baby bath will use a fraction of the water used for a full sized adult bath or power shower. A lawn will need the same amount of water in a two person household as a four person household. As families get bigger there is just less time for everyone to have long daily showers (or the hot water just runs out!). So usage per person drops in larger households.
The average usage for a single person living alone will typically be more than 55000 litres a year – as you will see from the UK figures above it can range from 56000 to 89000 a year.

See some figures here on various activities and how much water they can http://www.moneyguideireland.com/water-charges-some-more-meaningful-figures.html

Unmetered Water Charges – How Much Will They Be ?

The proposed amounts for the Water Charges have now been published (July 31st) by the Comission for Energy Regulation. These figures are still open to public consultation before they are finalised  – but we don’t think they are very  likely to be changed.

When the water charges kick in from October 2014  (first bill Jan 2015) – the majority of water meters will still not be installed – and until they are  – all those unmetered properties will be billed for water without any measurement of what they use.
Eventually – by late 2016 – all  but about 300,000 homes should have had water meters installed. The 300,000 homes without meters are mainly going to be apartments where it is difficult to meter each unit within a block.

Assessed Charges

Unmetered properties will get a bill based on an “assessed charge”.  This assessed charge will be based on the number of adults in a household . (Originally Irish Water wanted to use a combination of occupancy levels and property size)

Water charges will be made up of two components  -  a charge for the water used and a charge for waste water treatment. Only homes connected to the mains sewer will be charged for waste water. Only homes connected to the public water mains will be charged for water usage.

The proposed Assessed Water Charges (unmetered)  for 2014/2015 will be based on the number of adults and are shown in the table  below.

No. of Adults in Household
Water  Usage
Waste Water Charge
Combined Total Water Charge
1
€88
€88
€176
2
€139
€139
€278
3
€190
€190
€380
4
€241
€241
€482
5
€292
€292
€584
6
€343
€343
€686

Irish Water will soon be sending hundreds of thousands of forms out to all householders requesting information about the PPS numbers of adults and children in the house. They will also be asking householders  to confirm if they get their water via the public mains and if they are connected to the mains sewage system . (There is currently no accurate record of household water and waste water connections in Ireland) .

If householders do not respond to these Irish Water letters  – it is proposed to charge unmetered homes the full amount (water and waste water) for two adults without the free allowance – i.e. an annual charge of €424. Non responding households with a meter will be charged as per the metered rates – but they will not be given any free allowance for children

Where water meters have been installed -  houses will be charged for water and waste water based on the volume they use. It is proposed that for the first 6 months of a house going onto metered charges – the total water  charge will be capped so that it will not be more than the assessed charge (see above) for an equivalent  household (based on the number of adults).
The first proper uncapped bills  based on metered usage will not go out until  July 2015.

Read more about  metered water charges here

Water Charges – are there any Exemptions?

The fine detail of the Water Charges are becoming clearer now that the pricing proposals have benn published by the CER (Commission for Energy Regulation)  We have a summary of the amounts you can expect to pay for  Water Charges here

There will be no exemptions from the water charge because of disability , medical needs,  age or income level.

All residential properties connected to the public mains water system OR the public sewage system will be liable for water charges and will be billed by Irish Water.

The Water Charge will be made up of two parts – a charge for water supply and a charge for wastewater (sewage). The amount of water going into the sewage system will be assumed to be the same as the amount of water consumed in a property.

About 200,000 homes that have a private well or are connected to a privately supplied  group water scheme will not be billed by Irish Water for the water supply component of the Water Charge.

Group Water Schemes that are connected to the public water supply network will  become customers of Irish Water, having previously been customers of the relevant local authority. Group Water Schemes that have their own water sources will not be customers of Irish Water and will continue to operate as before.

About 500,000 homes in Ireland are not connected to a public sewer – they have their own a septic tank or other on site waste treatment system. These homes will not be billed by Irish Water for the  wastewater component of the Water Charge.

So – if someone has a private well AND their own waste water treatment system – they will be exempt from any water charges from Irish Water. (But they will probably be already paying more out  in desludging fees and servicing fees and electricity for pumps !)

The occupier of a property will be responsible for paying the new Water Charges.
Unless provided with proof of another occupier – Irish Water will assume the owner is the occupier.

About 400,000 people will get some financial assistance towards their water charge in the form of a new component of the Household Benefits Package. This is going to be €100 a year.  (On top of the existing allowances for gas, electricity and television). So – some households could actually end up slightly better off if they use less than 30,000 litres of water and get the Household Benefits package.

Medical Needs: Bill Capping

People who have high water usage because of  certain medical conditions will have their bills capped at the relevant assessed charge for their household size. For  example – the assessed charge on an unmetered two adult household is €278 – so their bill would never be more than €278 – even if they have  a meter and use more than €278 worth of water.

Second Homes / Holiday Homes
It has been proposed that properties identified as Non-principal private residences (such as holiday homes) will be billed a fixed charge by Irish Water of  €160 a year. This is  for homes connected to both mains water and mains sewage.  The fixed charge will be halved to €80 a year if the home has it’s own waste water treatment.  

Is it possible to Avoid Water Charges?

Unmetered homes will not be able to avoid paying water charges – they will be billed with a fixed  amount based on the number of occupants. See the Fixed Water Charge Amounts here.

It will be possible for some homes with meters who have low water usage  to end up paying nothing .
For example a single person who uses less than the 30,000 a year free allowance will pay nothing. It might be difficult to stay under the free  limit – but for someone who just has say just a bath once a week and is generally sparing with water it is possible.

Reductions for Poor Water Quality
It is proposed that  if water is not fit for for consumption there will be a 50% discount on just the water supply portion of a customer’s bill.  (This discount will run as long as the  Boil Water or Drinking Water Restriction Notice is in place)  For long term poor water quality that exceed 6 months, Irish Water is proposing a discount of 100% on the water supply element of the charge. Any charges for waste water will continue to be billed in full .
In relation to the application of a discount in the event of a Boil Water or Drinking Water Restriction Notice, the CER is proposing that “long term” should be defined as over 3 months. (Final decision Due later in 2014)