Water Charges 2017 – The New Rules

What is going to happen to Water Charges in 2017 ?

Water charging was introduced in Ireland back in January 2015 – but it didn’t last very long . After lots of protests and political bargaining –  Water Charges in Ireland were eventualy suspended in July 2016 for 9 months while an “expert group” looked into what to do next.  In April 2017 – the suspension of charges  was extended until July 2017 so that the recommendations of the “experts” can be considered by the politicians who will vote on the final plan.

An expert commission published a report in November 2016. Following this – an Oireachtas  “Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services ”  then considered the commission’s recommendations and developed its own recommendations, which were published on 12 April 2017.

The proposal is that domestic charges for water will be stopped – but that any household using excessive amounts of water will be charged a levy . The threshold  figure for what is classed as excessive use is expected  to be  1.7 times the average household usage. There will probably be extra allowances for larger households and people with medical conditions that require more water usage.

According to the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services report – the average daily usage per person is 133 litres  or  48,545 litres a year.
Based on this figure  – the threshold  level for “excessive” use will be 226 litres per person daily  or  82 cubic metres  per person anually . 
To reach those high usage figures a household would  probably need to be  making daily use of a washing machine, having daily baths or daily use of a power shower and making regular use of a hosepipe or sprinkler and frequent use of water throughout the day.

See our estimated water usage figures from 2014

We expect that Irish Water and the CER will have plenty of data from metering that will possibly enable them to work out average figures for different household sizes . We don’t think it will just be a matter of multiplying 133 litres a day by the number of occupants.
To accurately  identify homes with excessive usage will be a challenge. It will require information on occupancy levels – which may not be possible to obtain or maintain.
If the system is to work – it will need to take account of occupant numbers. It may be that once a household hits the threshold level thay will be sent a warning and asked to provide information about occupants before being charged any levy or penalty.

Homes will still be metered and meters will still be read at least every quarter so that any home using excessive amounts of water can be identified.  It is not clear how of if unmetered homes could be charged for any excessive use – because their usage will not be known.

Refunds of Water Charges:  Anyone that paid water charges prior to July 2016 will be entitled to a full refund . It is expected that any payment of the €100 Water Conservation Grant that was claimed – will be deducted from any refund due.

 

GAP Discount Code

GAP Discount codes :  GAP are running a “reveal your deal” offer from April 21st to April 24th . Each customer gets a different offer or code. When we tried today we got a code for 40% off.  Just visit the GAP site and wait for the offer to pop up.

Free delivery on orders over €50

Visit the GAP Website here

GAP Discount Codes
Gap offers inventive American style, clean, classic clothing and accessories Gap opened its first store more than 40 years ago – and started with a simple mission “to make it easy for everyone to find a pair of jeans.

See more online shopping discounts available in Ireland here

 

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate Update

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate Update : April 20th 2017 9am

1 EUR = 0.8395 GBP        

1 GBP = 1.1911 EUR

See Latest  Exchange Rates Here

The triggering of Article 50 earlier this month  didn’t seem to affect the value of the Pound .  The announcement of a UK election in June seems to have had a positive effect on the value of Sterling as it rose to over €1.19.

Back in May 2016 the Pound was worth €1.31 but Sterling fell sharply in June 2016 after the decision of the UK to leave the EU. It went as low as €1.10 at one stage . During the latter half of July 2016  it was hovering around the €1.19  . This week GBP is back around the €1.19 mark .

Over the past several months Brexit has cast a cloud of uncertainty over the currency markets. If you think that the last 9 months were volatile for the currency markets, brace yourself, as the next 2 years are likely to be even more so.

With so much  uncertainty in the currency markets at the moment –  it could get very stressful for people or businesses planning large Euro / Sterling exchanges in the next few months.   We are likely to be entering a period of heightened volatility which, depending on your timescales and budget, could cause problems if you are not properly prepared.

Using a Currency Broker can remove some of the uncertainty by allowing you to fix an exchange rate as much as 12 months in advance of your transfer.  For good deals on large amounts of currency exchange –  for personal money or  for businesses – see our page on how to get the Best Exchange Rates

You might also be interested in this information about Transferring  Money from Ireland to a UK Bank

If you are just looking to buy some Pounds , Dollars  or other foreign cash for a holiday  – take a look at our page about the best place to buy travel currency in Ireland

 

euro sterling exchange rate ireland

 

Lowest Mortgage Rates in Ireland

We always  try to keep potential homebuyers  or mortgage switchers up to date on the lowest mortgage rates in Ireland. Doing a comparison of Irish mortgage interest rates  is easier in 2017  than it was a few years ago –  because there are fewer lenders operating in Ireland and a lot less mortgage products.

See our full  list of the Lowest Mortgage Rates here.


Fixed Rates

Most of the  best rates are only available if you have a 40% or 50% deposit. You can get 2.95% fixed for 2  years with an LTV of up to 60% at KBC. (Current account required)

The best looking deal on a 3 year fixed rate is 3.1% from Bank of Ireland –  with a maximum LTV of 80% –   BOI are offering upto 3% cashback too. First time buyers may also be able to get help with the deposit from the Help to Buy scheme.

Variable Rates
One of the best  variable mortgage rates for new customers is from KBC at  3.1% with a maximum LTV of 80%.

If you can only manage a deposit of 10% – the lowest variable rate is  from AIB  , Haven or KBC at 3.5%.
A 3 year fixed rate of  3.4% is a good offer from Ulster Bank  on LTVs upto 90% (current account required)

If you are thinking of switching your mortgage to get a lower rate – you should take account of the fact there will be  legal costs and valuation fees involved (around  €1,300  in total)  But many lenders are offering cashback to new customers to help with switching costs.  See some calculations on mortgage switching here.

See the Lowest Mortgage Rates here

More about the Rules on Mortgage Lending Limits in Ireland Here .