As we reported back in January 2012 it was decided that – a new public utility company called Irish Water would be created to take care of the delivery of public water supplies in Ireland. It was announced just this week that “Irish Water ” will be established as an independent state owned company operated by the Bord Gais Group.
The new company will be responsible for the installation of water meters in more than one million Irish households and for the introduction of water charges. Water Meter installation is expected to start in October this year (2012)
The actual charges for water will be set by the Commission for Energy Regulation – and water bills should start going out in early 2014. The majority of households should have water meters installed by then . Any house without meters will be billed based on an estimated usage based on household size.
The money for the setting up of Irish Water and for meter installation will be borrowed from the National Pensions Reserve Fund . A figure of €450 million was mentioned by Minister Hogan who also said that and that the costs would probably be passed on to customers by way of a standing charge over a period of 20 years.
The government estimate that about 300,000 households will not be included in the initial phase of water metering – because of technical difficulties . Based on figures used for the Household Charge – that leaves at least 1.3 to 1.4 million properties where water meters willbe installed.
Any water charges introduced in 2014 will also cover the cost of treating waste water discharged to the public sewer. However, not all households supplied with drinking water are connected to the public sewer and similarly there may be properties connected to the public sewer who do not receive a public water supply. These issues will be factored into the development of the charging regime.