Water Charges On the Way

Back in July we reported that the introduction of water charges might happen before the end of 2012  – as agreed with the IMF and EU as part of the bailout.
Water  charges to be introduced by 2012.   It looks like it will be 2014 before metered water charges begin.

Minister Phil Hogan has  been talking again this week about water charges and water meters – as he launched a six-week public consultation on reform of water services.

A new public water utility company called Irish Water will be set up in 2012.It will be responsible for setting prices and collecting charges.
Water Meter installations are due to begin by the end of 2012 or early 2013  and is expected to be complete by July 2014 .    Only  about  80 per cent of homes will be metered for water charges by 2014.  The Government’s intention is to provide a free allowance and then charge for water usage above that threshold.  No figures have been mentioned yet.
Further work will need be undertaken to look into how the water charges  can be capped or reduced for low income households

It is estimated that approximately 1.05 million households  out of  1.35 million on public water supplies would be included in the metering programme.
About 300,000 households   (about 22%)  will not get meters  because it will be either too expensive or technically too difficult to meter them  individually .  (e.g.  premises such as apartment or flat complexes and gated-communities) .  Homes without meters will have  water charges levied on a fixed charge basis.

Installing just over 1 million water meters in 19 months – works out at about 2000 a day. Phil Hogan mentioned 2000 jobs could be created – so that’s about 1 meter per person per day.

It has been confirmed that Households who source their water from private supplies will not pay charges.

The minister said  members of the public are invited to make proposals on how the new utility company to be called ‘Irish Water‘ should operate. Views are being sought by close of business on Friday 24th February 2012. Views should be submitted in writing or by email .  See more about the consultation and read the 131 page report here.

Water and wastewater services cost approximately €1.2bn per annum, of which around €1bn is funded by the Government, with other sources, including commercial  water charges, contributing just over €200m.
There are 34 seperate city and county councils who are are responsible for the production, distribution and monitoring of drinking water and for the provision of public waste water services

There is no regulation of water charges in Ireland currently – and some local authorities charge commercial customers  charge 57% more for water than others.
It is proposed that rather than establish a new regulator, regulation of the water sector will be managed under the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER)