One of the biggest infrastructure projects in Ireland will be starting in the next few weeks – the installation of over 1 million water meters . It will involve 27000 installations a month on average – over 3 years. The cost of the metering exercise is thought to be in the region of €500 Million.
The contracts to install the meters were split into 8 different regions – and just 3 companies have been awarded these lucrative contracts.
The three Regional Managment Contractors are
1 Murphy Group
2. Coffey Northumbrian Ltd ( A partnership between Coffey Group and Nothumbrian Water. British company Northumbrian Water is owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure, a company backed by the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing – who also owns 3 Ireland.)
3. GMC / Sierra – a joint venture between GMC Utilities and Sierra.
Sierra is part of Siteserv – which was recently bought by a company linked to billionaire Denis O’Brien. There was some controversy about the purchase because it involved the write off of large debts to Anglo Irish Bank – read more about that here .
The 3 regional contractors will have access to a panel of local approved subcontractors – but they don’t have to use them.
The government are saying there will be 1600 new jobs as a result of the water metering project . Apparently the tender contracts included conditions that at least 10% of the jobs have to go to the unemployed, 10% to Small to Medium enterprises and 5% to apprentices ,school leavers or graduates. It is not clear how, or if , these employment targets will be monitored or what will happen if the contractors fail to meet them.
Read more here about Water Charges