Wednesday 16 April 2014

Paul Melia: Unfairness of system is a disaster in the making

THE ham-fisted manner in which the Government plans to introduce water charges is a disaster in the making.

Making single people pay the same as large families will strip any fairness out of the system, and make collecting the bills next to impossible.

In March 2011, when the Coalition took office, a "fair funding model" was promised where each household would have a water meter installed, and charges would be based on use above a free allowance.

But now it appears that "fair funding" means forcing people living alone, couples and smaller families to pay the same as those with a large brood and extended family.

It also means lots of homes – about 300,000 – will never have a meter, and will be forced to pay based on the average – whatever that means.

This is not good enough. If the systems in place aren't ready to provide that fairness, then the introduction of charges should be postponed.

Of course, this could all be kite-flying. The Commission for Energy Regulation will regulate the industry, and decide how the charging system will work.

It's hoped it has the necessary powers and independence to call a halt to the rubbish system being proposed before we have a repeat of the household charge fiasco.

Irish Independent

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