We now have a much better idea of exactly how water charges will be calculated now that the rates have been agreed by the regulator.
Charging for water is due to start on 1st October 2014 and the first bills will be out in the first quarter of 2015.
Details of the Metered Irish Water Charges here
There will be no standing charge . (There will be a minimum charge levied on vacant or holiday homes.) . In theory – with no standing charge it will be possible for some single person households who don’t use much water to end up paying no water charge as long as they don’t exceed the free allowance (See below).
We have estimated that a single person could pay nothing – but they would have to be sparing with their usage. They could keep within the free allowance if they had a 5 minute shower just twice a week , used the washing machine twice a week and flushed the toilet just 3 times a day and that would leave them with just 25l a day for drinks and washing/cleaning.
The first 30,000 litres a year will be free per household (not per adult) .
There is also a free allowance of 21000 litres per child under 18.
Forms will be sent to all homes to request details of PPS numbers of all the adults and children living there – so they can work out the free allowances for metered homes and the assessed charges for unmetered homes.
To help put it in context – the free allowance for all the adults in a house works out at 80 litres a day which could be used up by one person having a power shower for just 5 minutes. Just having a daily 5 minute normal (non power) shower and flushing the toilet five times a day would also use up the adult daily free allowance.
The annual free allowance for a child is 21000 litres - or 57 litres a day. This might be fine for babies and smaller children but many teenagers would easily exceed this allowance once they have been in a power shower for just 4 minutes.
The metered charge for every 1000 litres of water over the allocated free allowance is €4.88. This is for a home connected to both mains water and the mains sewerage. (About 1.1 million homes)
To give you some idea of how that works out in meaningful terms - we have estimated the amounts you could be charged for the following after you have used up the free allowance…
Baths: having just 2 baths a week would use 10000l and cost €51 a year
A daily 10 Min Power Shower : €284 a year.
Toilet Flush – 3 people flushing just 4 times each a day - €170 a year
Washing Machine: running it once a day will use 27000l and cost €133 a year
Dishwasher running it twice a day would cost €56 a year in water charges.
Note: For a home that has a septic tank or waste water treatment system – the above charges would be half the figure shown in all cases.
The first €146 worth of water would be covered by the free 30,000 l allowance
Unmetered Charges (Flat Rate)
There will always be some properties where meters won’t ever be installed (about 300,000). Also – while the meter installations proceed – there will be tens of thousands of homes that won’t have a water meter until after billing begins. These properties will have their water bills “assessed” This “assessed” bill will be a flat rate figure based on the number of occupants (adults and children). See the details of the Assessed Water Charges Here
VAT on Water : Revenue have confirmed that the current VAT exemption which applies to the supply of water by local authorities has been extended to apply to water supplied by Irish Water with effect from 1 January 2014. So there will be no VAT added to the water supply component of the bills. VAT is not currently charged on wastewater services for businesses – and we understand that this VAT exemption should also apply to domestic customers. So – there will hopefully be no VAT on water bills.
Help for Low Income Households
The Government have confirmed that an extra €100 will be added to the Household Benefits Package to help pay for Water Charges . This package is paid to about 413,000 people – all over 70′s , people aged 66 to 70 on low incomes, people on diabaility allowance or invalidity pension and some carers.
If a single pensioner was to use less water than the free allowance of 30,000 litres – then their water bill will be zero. They could even end up in profit after getting the €100 payment (if it is paid in cash and not deducted from bills)
People on Social Welfare who don’t qualify for the Household Benefits package will be charged the full amount for their water bills. The only possible help available is the exceptional needs payment system . This is a scheme through which a single payment can be provided to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure which a person “could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income”.
More here on Who Will Pay Water Charges
More here on Water Charge Exemptions
Figures We Have Used in Calculation of Estimated Water Usage and Charges
Toilet Flush assumed an 8l cistern
Bath – a failrly deep bath of 100l assumed.
Shower (non power) assumed flow of 8l per min
Power Shower – assumed flow of 16l per min
Washing Machine – assumed 1 load = 75l
Dish Washer – assumed a load = 16l
Personal Hygeine and drinks assumed 175l per week