What is happening with Water Charges in 2018 ?
- Water charges were introduced in Ireland back in January 2015 – but they didn’t last very long .
- After plenty of protests and political bargaining – the Water Charges were eventually 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” could be considered by the politicians .
- A third extension of the suspension of water charges until 31st Dec 2017 was put in place in July 2017.
Water Charges are no longer suspended from January 2018.
Water Charges from January 2018
Under the new legislation – ongoing domestic charges for “normal” use of water will be stopped – but any household using amounts of water over a specified threshold will be charged for water usage that exceeds that threshold.
* See below for the threshold figures
The monitoring of people’s usage under the new charging regime began on Jan 1st 2018 and they will be monitored for a full year to the end of 2018.
Those households who are identified as using water above this threshold will then be notified at the beginning of 2019. They will be given a six month period during which they can reduce their water usage. If they haven’t done that by the end of the six months they will then be charged for any usage above the threshold for that six month period and any ongoing usage over the threshold.
The first “excessive usage” water charges will be due to start around July 2019.
What Is the Water Threshold ?
The threshold figure for 2018 was set in legislation in Dec 2017. It is 213,000 litres per year . That is 583 litres per day
Average household water usage figures , from the CER, show that the average water usage for a four person household in Ireland is 125,000 litres a year – so the threshold is 1.7 times that.
Based on CER figures – only about 7% of metered households currently exceed this threshold and could therefore expect to be asked to pay water charges for usage above the threshold.
It should be pretty difficult for households of less than 3 people to exceed this threshold – unless they are watering a large garden all the time or bathing 3 times a day.
To reach the threshold of 213,000 litres a year – a household of 3 or more people 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.
Allowances for Larger Households :
There will be extra water allowances that can be claimed for households with 5 or more people. This extra allowance will be given for each person over and above 4 people.This allowance is 25,000 litres a year per person.
- So – for example ,
- 5 person household 238,000 litre threshold
- 6 person household 263,000 litre threshold.
(A person is any adult or child)
The extra allowances will not be automatic – households will need to “claim” it but only if they are warned that they are exceeding the basic threshold. (Proof may be required of the number of occupants.)
(Note: About 27% of households have 5 or more people – which is about 218,000 households .)
What Will The Water Charges Be?
We assume there will be a simple charge rate per litre over and above the threshold (and any additional allowances). A figure that was used in some sample calculations by the CER was €3.70 per 1000 litres . So , if this was the charge rate , a household using 50,000 litres of water over the annual threshold would be billed €185 in water charges for the year. (These are indicative figures only)
The government says that homes will still continue to 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 unmetered homes can be charged for any excessive use – because their usage will just not be known.
Refunds of Water Charges: :Latest on Refunds of Water Charges