Standing Charges for Water

The details of the calculation oft the new Water Charges have still to be decided by the CER – but there was a bit of a fuss this week when it was “revealed” that Irish Water expect to bill  a “standing charge” of about €100 a year to every home. It was reported by some in the media as if it was a terrible thing to do.

All the utility companies charge a fixed fee or a standing charge to cover the work they do to run and maintain a supply to each house. They couldn’t run a business if they only charged for what people used.

Standing charges for gas currently range from 89 to €105 a year and Electicity standing charges are between   €140 and €166 a year.

So it should come as no surprise if  the Water Charge is made up of a fixed component too.  (It might not be called a standing charge).

The water charges begin inOctober 2014 with the first bill due in January 2015

More details here of how much the Water Charges might be. We should know more in August hopefully.

Budget 2015 – Savings Still to Be Made

Budget 2015 – which isn’t due until October 2014 – was expected to be the last of the “Austerity” budgets.  There could be as much as  €2 Billion of savings to be found in Budget 2015 – based on government forecasts made in 2013/14. This was expected to be made  up of  €1.3 billion cuts in spending and an increase in revenue (taxes) of €0.7 Billion

In December 2013 the European Commission were even saying that as much as €2.5 Billion of savings might be needed in Budget 2015 – and these would have to come from more tax increases  and more spending cuts on top of the Property Tax , Water Charges and the USC.

There have been a few mentions of possible tax CUTS in Budget 2015 during the past few months – but was that just politicians trying to please the electorate?  The best we can hope for is probably no more tax increases on earnings.

The ESRI have recently forecast better growth in the economy during 2014 than was previously expected -  and some media reports have announced this as “The End of Austerity” .
The ESRI forecasts could be wrong (they sometimes are) – but whatever happens , the ESRI still recommend that any planned Budget 2015 savings are made ... they said  …”However, there still remains the possibility of new shocks to the economy and so, in formulating fiscal policy, we suggest that it is best to err on the side of caution to ensure that budgetary targets are met in 2015″

So – where will the €2 Billion Euro come from this year ? Who will lose out in 2015?
Can the Irish people be squeezed one more time to pay off the bailout?

Water Charges – Who Will Pay Them?

Water Charges are on the way – but who will have to pay this new charge?
Charging is due to start from October 2014 but the first bills won’t arrive until January 2015

Irish Water will be charging for both the supply of water and the treatment of wastewater.

Water Supply
You  will be charged for the supply of water if  your home is connected to the public water main .  If you are on a group water scheme or have a private well – then Irish Water will not be charging you for water supply.

Wastewater
Irish Water will also be billing households  for wastewater treatment – so if your home is connected to a public sewer you will be charged for that too.
You will not be charged by Irish Water for wastewater if  you have a septic tank or other on-site wastewater treatment system. (You may be asked for proof of registration of the waste treatment stystem to avoid this component of the bill)

Tenant or Landlord
The water charges will be  the responsibility of the  occupier of the property. If a tenant cannot be identified for a rented house then the owner of the property will be  responsible for any Irish Water bills.

Businesses
Irish Water took over the management of business water and wastewater services from January 2014.

How Much Will it Be ?

We don’t know how much the water charges will be yet – the figures will be determined by the Energy Regulator sometime in 2014 hopefully. We made some estimates of How Much Water Charges Might Be – Here

We expect the charge to be made up of a fixed amount or standing charge component and a usage component – with a certain amount of water usage allowed for free.

On unmetered homes there will be no way of measuring usage – so Irish Water are going to apply an “assessed charge” based on assumed usage for household size etc. It will be interesting to see how  this assessed charge will be calculated . It will  require data such as the number of occupants or at least number of bedrooms to be anywhere near fair. Irish Water don’t have this information currently – and nor does anyone else.  The Property Tax registration forms could have asked for information  about bedrooms  etc.- but they didn’t. So we can probably expect another raft of forms through the door from Irish Water asking us to confirm our name and address and maybe even how many people there are  in the house.

Best Deposit Rates in Irish Banks

Interest rates on Deposit Accounts  in Ireland have been dropping over the past year or two   -

On our page of  the Best  Savings  Rates in Ireland   – you will see that the best available instant access interest rate in the banks  is 2.3% - this is available at KBC  but it is dropping to 2% in May

If you are willing to lock your money away for a five years you can get slightly better rates in state savings products.
The 5.5  year savings certificate pays 1.75% Tax Free (A normal deposit account would need to be paying about 2.97%  to match this) .
Or you could go for the 10 year Solidarity Bond which pays 2.66% after taxes – which is the equivalent of  about 4.2% before DIRT. But you have to keep the money locked away for 10 years to get that rate.

If you are lucky enough to have some savings – then you should check if you are getting the best interest rate. Some deposit accounts pay as little as 0.1% a year !  If you had €1000 and moved it to an account paying 2% – you could get about €110  extra interest in a year  after the 41% DIRT which is the rate from Jan 2014

See more of our  Money Saving Tips.

Best Savings Interest Rates