Water charges have been here for over a year now – they started back in January 2015. The very first Irish Water bills went out in April 2015.
It looks like there is a significant number of people who have not paid any of their water charges – about 40% of people have paid nothing at all.
Penalty Charges for late payment will start to kick in from April 2016.
Irish Water will automatically apply late payment charges where the outstanding payments equal the total annual water charge and remain unpaid for 3 months or more. The late payment charge will not be made if a customer agrees to a payment plan.
How Much are the Late Payment Charges ?
For an unregistered household or a registered household with 2 or more adults the late payment penalty is €60. A further €60 will be added at each anniversary if the bill is still unpaid or a payment plan has not been entered into with Irish Water.
For a registered One Adult Household , the charge is €30. An additional €30 will be added on every year while the bill remains unpaid or a payment plan has not been entered into with Irish Water.
It’s not quite as simple as an annual charge – a penalty is applied for each year that the charges remain unpaid.
For example – if someone getting charged €260 a year doesn’t pay any water charges for 3 years – This is what will happen….
End of Year 1 – late payment charge €60
End of Year 2 – a second charge of €60 for the year 1 outstanding PLUS another €60 charge for the second year’s missed payment.
End of Year 3 : a third €60 charge for the year one late payment PLUS a second €60 charge for the year 2 late payment PLUS a €60 charge for the most recent missed payment.
So – that is a total of €360 in late payment charges on top of the €260 a year water charge.
That makes a grand total of €1340 due after 3 years of non payment. In this example it works out at as a penalty charge of €360 on a €780 bill – which is a 46% penalty charge.
(The total charge after 2 years of non payment would be €700 made up of €180 on top of the €520 water charges (34% ))
What Happens if You Still Don’t Pay ?
The next step that Irish Water can take to try and get people to pay their bills is to take them to court . The new Civil Debt (Procedures) Act 2015, allows Irish Water (and other utilities etc ) to apply to the Court for an order allowing them to take deductions from earnings or deduction from social welfare payments.
The minimum debt for this Civil Debt process is €500 – so it will be at least another year before any such court orders will be seen for Irish Water debts (if they are ever used).