Wednesday 28 September 2016

Householders must contact the regulator with grievances

Published 16/04/2015 | 02:30

Many Irish Water customers will rightly feel aggrieved that the company proposes only repairing what it considers "serious" leaks, which could result in them paying for water they never use.

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They are perfectly correct.

Fixing the leaks will not be cheap. Irish Water believes between inspection and repairs, each will cost in the region of €1,250. That's a lot of money for a householder to find if they have a leak which doesn't qualify.

But instead of whinging about the unfairness of it all, householders should make contact with the water regulator and outline their proposals for how best the 'first fix free' policy should operate.

There are a myriad of issues in Irish Water's proposals which warrant adjustment. Apart from the threshold, they also include how paving and driveways are re-instated after works are complete, the limit placed on the number of homes which will benefit and the fact that the scheme is due to end by December 2016.

That will present a problem - one which the next Government will have to grapple with - as not until Irish Water has fully rolled-out the metering programme will it know the extent of the household leaks.

Given that 30,000 suspected problems have already been identified, it's highly likely that the €51m budget earmarked to inspect more than 55,000 properties and make repairs in more than 23,000 will simply not be enough.

It's important to note that these are only proposals - no decisions have yet been made. But the public should advise the regulator of issues of concern, something which only takes the price of a stamp or sending an email.

Irish Independent

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