Friday 19 December 2014

Irish Water will pay customers €10 for mistakes

Paul Melia, Environment Correspondent

Published 17/04/2014 | 12:16

Many questions about water charges remain unanswered
Many questions about water charges remain unanswered

CUSTOMERS unable to drink water because a boil water notice is in place will not be charged the full rate for their supply.

The Commissioner for Energy Regulation (CER) says that where an alternative supply has been put in place, customers will not be hit with the full charge for their water services.

And Irish Water will also be forced to pay customers €10 if they fail to give adequate notice of interruptions to supply.

The CER plans to hit the company with financial penalties if they don’t comply with a range of customer protection measures, including failure to give two weeks notice that meters are being installed, failure to give two days notice of cuts in supply and not responding to customer complaints within five days.

The proposed penalties are set out in documentation published this morning by the water regulator.

The first stage in a public consultation process which will last until late summer, they highlight a range of issues which Irish Water will be obliged to address when billing commences in October.

They also confirm that Irish Water sought 33pc of the bill to be made up of a standing charge - as revealed in Monday’s Irish Independent.

“Irish Water shall develop a customer charger setting out the services provided and service quality levels offered,” the CER says. “The customer charter must also set out its commitments where charter payments will apply and payment arrangements which apply if service quality levels are not met.

“These commitments...are required to have a financial penalty associated with them if they are not met. A penalty of €10 shall apply per commitment.”

The company has also been given leeway to pay the penalties if they believe that high standards of service are not provided.

This could include a failure by the company to properly deal with a complaint.

These measures will apply until the end of 2015. From January 2016, specific customer requirements will be highlighted in separate codes of practice dealing with communication, metering, billing, vulnerable customers and complaint handling.

Further Reading

- Water charges: Government to work out refund system for households without meters overcharged

- Case study: 'This will affect our shopping budget'

- Families left without water meters must pay €72 extra

- Comment: This is the thin end of the wedge

- Q&A The row over charges

- Coalition in public row over water bills

- A quicker flow of water data would be welcome 

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