Now that most people seem to have got their Property Tax sorted out – it’s time to start getting ready for the Water Charges. We have known for a long time that water charges are on the way – but progress has been slow and the target dates keep changing.
Water charges were always targeted to start in January 2014 – but it now seems that the government are delaying it until later in 2014.
The CEO of Irish Water said earlier in June that he was expecting charging to begin in October 2014 – with the first bills going out in January 2015.
A memo to the IMF/EU by the Department of Finance this week also mentioned a target date of the last 3 months of 2014 to begin charging for water.
Eventually – it is planned that the majority of homes will have water meters and the bills will be based on water usage with a certain amount “free”. Until all meters are installed – there will be a flat rate water charge.
The original plan was that installation of water meters would begin in 2012 – but it is now not expected to start until at least July 2013.
According to Irish Water – the water meter installations will be carried out by 1400 staff working in teams of 2. They will have just over 1 million meters to install – so at a rate of 2 a day per team – that could take 2 years and 9 months to complete.
Irish Water will need to contact all households in the country before billing can take place to confirm customers details. So everyone can expect a letter from Irish Water in the next few months. The water charge will be paid by the occupier not the owner – so tenants will be liable.
The water charges will not just be for drinking water supplied to homes – there will be a charge for dealing with the waste water too in the bills.
Homeowners with Septic Tanks or other domestic waste water treatment systems will not have to pay the waste water/sewage element of the bill.
Of course – Irish Water will have access to the database of registered septic tanks to assist them in working out charges . So that might result in an increase in the number of Septic Tank Registrations in the next few months?
The amount of the Water Charges are due to be decided in the summer of 2013 by the Energy Regulator – who is now also responsible for water charges. It could be in the region of €300 to €500 a year – but we will have to wait for the full details .
The website for Irish Water will be www.water.ie