Water charges have been here for over a year now – they started from January 2015. The very first Irish Water bills went out in April 2015.
It looks like there are significant numbers of people who have not paid any of their water charges – about 40% of people have paid nothing at all.
Irish Water Penalty Charges for late payment will start to kick in from July 2016.
Irish Water say they will automatically apply these late payment charges where the outstanding payments equal the total annual water charge and remain unpaid for 3 months or more. So some people could see these late payment charges appearing on the water bills that cover April/May and June 2016 .
The late payment charge will not be made if a customer agrees to a payment plan. But if the payment plan is not adhered to – the charges will apply.
How Much are the Late Payment Charges ?
For an unregistered household or a registered household with 2 or more adults , using water and wastewater – the late payment penalty is €60. A further €60 will be added at each anniversary if the bill is still unpaid or a payment plan has not been entered into with Irish Water.
For a registered One Adult Household using water and wastewater , the late payment charge is €30. An additional €30 will be added on every year while the bill remains unpaid or a payment plan has not been entered into with Irish Water.
It’s not quite as simple as an annual charge – a penalty is applied for each year that the original charge remain unpaid.
For example – if someone who is being charged the maximum of €260 a year doesn’t pay any water charges for 3 years – This is what will happen….
End of Year 1 – late payment charge €60
End of Year 2 – a second charge of €60 for the year 1 outstanding PLUS another €60 charge for the second year’s missed payment.
End of Year 3 : a third €60 charge for the year one late payment PLUS a second €60 charge for the year 2 late payment PLUS a €60 charge for the most recent missed payment.
So – that is a total of €360 in late payment charges on top of the €260 a year water charge.
That makes a grand total of €1140 due after 3 years of non payment. In this example it works out at as a penalty charge of €360 on a €780 bill – which is a 46% penalty charge.
(The total charge after 2 years of non payment would be €700 made up of €180 on top of the €520 water charges (34% penalty ))
What Happens if You Still Don’t Pay ?
The next step that Irish Water can take to try and get people to pay their bills is to apply to the Court for an order allowing them to take deductions from earnings or deduction from social welfare payments. The new Civil Debt (Procedures) Act 2015, allows Irish Water (and other utilities etc ) to do this .
The minimum debt for this Civil Debt court order process is €500 – so it will be at least another year before any such court orders will be seen for overdue Irish Water debts (if they are ever used).