Kildare will be first county to get water meters
HOMEOWNERS in Kildare will be the first in the country to have water meters installed on their properties, the Irish Independent has learned.
And the company charged with operating the water network will today announce the creation of 1,600 jobs, all of which will be in place by Christmas and which will last for at least three years.
The major jobs boost will be revealed at a press conference being held by Irish Water today, with work installing the meters to begin in just weeks.
Around 25pc of the 1,600 construction jobs will be set aside for workers on the Live Register, school leavers and small businesses.
It is understood that property owners in Kildare will be the first to have the meters installed, and information packs will be sent to thousands of homes over the coming weeks.
They will contain information on the installation process, and what customers can expect.
Installing a meter should take about two hours, and 27,000 will be installed every month.
Details of the exact locations where the meters will be installed first are expected to be revealed today.
The programme is expected to be completed by December 2016, with 1.1 million meters to be installed.
"This is a major jobs announcement," one source said.
"The 1,600 jobs will be created as part of the metering programme and will come on line in the next few months.
"They will last until December 2016 when the metering programme is finished.
"The first meters will be installed from August, starting in Kildare, and moving nationwide shortly after."
A total 650,000 properties have already been surveyed. The remainder will be examined to identify potential problems over the coming months.
Irish Water will also announce the names of the three companies which have won regional contracts to oversee the metering programme.
Each company will be responsible for appointing the subcontractors which will install the meters.
The development comes after it emerged this week that householders will receive their first bills for drinking water in January 2015, a year later than first expected.
Average bills are expected to be between €300 and €350, but will not be confirmed until later this year or early 2014.