Sunday 15 September 2019

80,000 households to be hit with water charges under new regime

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Stock photo
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Around 80,000 households will be charged for water under the new regime, it has been claimed.

This number of homes are expected to be hit with "excessive usage water charges" when the new charging scheme comes in in 2020.

In a report sent to the Government last week, the water agency estimated it would collect €7m in charges in the first year of the system.

This will increase to €9m annually within five years, according to the Irish Water strategic funding plan.

The utility expects to raise €39m over the next five years from excessive usage charges.

The figures are based on an expectation that between 75,000 and 80,000 households will be paying the average capped domestic water rate of €260 a year.

The strategic funding also estimates the cost of running Irish Water up until 2024 will be €11bn.

The new charging system was agreed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil as part of the first confidence and supply agreement that currently underpins the Government.

Under the agreement, water charges were abolished - but to ensure the country does not incur EU-imposed financial penalties, fines for excessive water were then introduced.

Families coming in at 1.7 times the average - some 213,000 litres for a four-person household and 79,900 litres for a single-occupant home - will be forced to pay the water charges.

It was previously estimated that around 7pc of Irish Water customers - or some 95,000 households - will be hit with excessive usage charges.

An Irish Water spokesperson said the figures were "adjusted for average rates of payment and minus the expected level of customer engagement to rectify the excess use which is most likely a leak".

"Irish Water recently made a submission to our economic regulator, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), on the potential rates for those average households who are using in excess of 213,000 litres of water per year.

"The details of any charges and their application will be determined by the CRU," she said. "Irish Water has estimated the revenue that could potentially be raised if those customers we engage with fail to fix leaks or fail to curb their excess usage."

Irish Independent

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