Back in January 2012 we reported that the government expected water meter installation to be completed by July 2014. Water meters are going to have to be in place before the new Irish Water company can start levying accurate water charges on households.
It now looks like the end date for water meter installation could be as late as the end of 2015 . Installation of the meters is hoped to begin in 2013 – and is estimated to take from two and a half to three years to complete.
It is looking like there will be a flat rate water charge in 2014, before the metering is completed. The Commission for Energy Regulation will determine how much the charge will be . A flat rate charge for water could be as much as €500 a year.
Once all the meters are installed it is expected that there will be a standard charge per cubic meter – but each home will be given a ‘free’ annual allowance of water, after which they will pay based on the amount used.
Many properties will continue to pay a flat rate charge because it will not be possible to install water meters – this includes properties such as apartments.
Currently Ireland spends about €1.2 billion per year on water. About €200 million is recovered from businesses – so household water charges will need to total about €1 billion per year if those costs remain unchanged. Even with an over estimate of 2 million dwellings – that means – they will need to collect water charges of at least €500 per property per year.