Irish Water unable to confirm if €45k leak has been repaired yet
IRISH Water are unable to confirm if they have investigated or repaired a leak at a property that would have landed one homeowner with a bill of €45,000 if bills were not capped.
They confirmed they have contacted the customer about a potential leak at the property and at nine other properties where massive water usage resulted in bills of more than €19,000 each.
It comes after it was confirmed that the 10 highest bills this year would have totalled more than €240,000.
A spokesperson for Irish Water confirmed that eight of the 10 customers have requested a free leak investigation under the first fix free scheme.
Six of these investigations have been completed and one more is due to be carried out soon.
Another customer has had an initial investigation carried out but an internal stop valve needs to be installed at the property before the investigation can be completed.
"All of these customers have been notified of a possible leak," said a spokesperson.
"Of the six leak investigations completed, all have identified leaks that qualify for a free leak repair under the first fix free scheme," she added.
"Five leaks have been repaired to date and one is currently scheduled for repair."
Irish Water said that they could not tell the Herald what leaks have been investigated or repaired because the utility company cannot comment on the status of specific customer situations.
The largest suspected leak was at a property in Clontarf, Dublin 3, after the bill for this property was calculated at €45,786.
Right2Water spokesperson David Gibney said that the leaks would frighten vulnerable families.
"It is worrying for us and for anyone opposed to water charges that when the cap is gone in 2019 people will have huge bills of more than €600," said Mr Gibney.
"They cannot afford it now and will not be able to afford it then either," he added.
"This is going to play into the fears of a lot of people who are very vulnerable and who won't have the incomes to cover a bill for anything like that amount."
Mr Gibney reiterated Right2Water's call to scrap Irish Water.
"All of the money that they have earmarked for metering, advertising and the other unnecessary spending on Irish water could be put into fixing the leaks," he said.
"If we have to go back and pay for water we can do that through general taxation," he added.
A house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, would have accounted for the next largest bill at €27,812.
The bills have not been issued to customers because all water bills are capped at €160 per year for a single adult or €260 for a house occupied by two adults or more.
Only one other property in Dublin came in the top ten. The home in Finglas would have received a bill of €19,231.
Three properties in Cork would have had bills of €24,459, €19,701 and €19,393, while a property in Killarney, Co Kerry would have been billed €22,400 were capped bills not in place.