Farmers to be billed on double for water supply
Published 06/08/2014 | 02:30
Farmers using a public water supply will be billed on the double for household and farm water supplies, the Commission on Energy Regulation has confirmed.
In addition to the twice annual bill from Irish Water, farmers will receive twice annual bills from their local authority for a fixed base meter charge as well as payment per litre for the water used.
Irish Water is classifying farmers as non-metered customers liable for standing charges. However, as farmers their water usage will be also be metered by the local authority and their free water allowance, as defined by Irish Water, will be deducted from their overall charge.
"From January 2014 onwards mixed use customers will receive bills in respect of their domestic water services directly from Irish Water and will continue to receive bills from their local authority in respect of their non-domestic consumption," a spokesperson for the Commission on Energy Regulation explained.
The spokesperson said that the Commission was aware of the potential issues for farmers, including the double billing for 'mixed' usage'.
Submissions on billing and other issues will be considered and reviewed by the Commission over the next two years.
Farmers will be liable for payment of fixed charges to both Irish Water and their local authority even if their usage is within the 'free' annual household allocation.
Non-farming 'metered' households who remain within the 'free' allocation will have no liability. 'Non-metered' private households will only pay the 'fixed' household charge and could qualify for a partial refund.
A farmer and his wife, with two adult children resident on the farm, will be liable for a fixed charge of €241/year to Irish Water and will pay their local authority for all litres in excess of the 'free' household allocation.
In addition, authorities will charge a fixed meter rent - up to €200 per meter per year in some local authority areas - and per litre for water used in excess of the allowance.
Metered private households will pay €2.44/1,000 litres for the excess over the 'free' household allowance.
Farmers, although metered, will be billed for the fixed charge by Irish water and will receive the 'free' household allocation.
They will be charged per litre for all excess usage , plus an additional fixed meter charge by their local authority.
Local authority charges vary greatly and there are no immediate plans to introduce uniformity.
Some examples included a fixed meter charge of €40/year in Mayo, €120/year in Kildare and €200/year in Co Limerick.
Water charges can range from 96c/cubic meter in Co Laois to €1.49/cubic meter in Co Kildare.
Farmers who have multiple connections to supply water to fragmented parcels of land will have to pay a fixed charge for each meter, plus water usage charges.