Tuesday 21 November 2017

Explainer: How and when people will get their Irish Water refunds

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Sean Nolan

Irish Water have launched a new site to assist customers who paid their bills to get their refunds.

Here's all you need to know.

Why are refunds being issued?

An all-party Oireachtas Committee on the funding of water services agreed that water charges are to be scrapped except in cases of excessive use.

The committee’s examination of the divisive issue came about under the terms of the deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that saw the establishment of the minority Government.

With water charges effectively having been axed, it has been decided that people who paid will get refunds, so they’re treated the same as those who didn’t pay the charges.

When will the refunds begin?

That is still not clear but all the refunds will not be processed this side of Christmas. Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning, Irish Water's Head of Customer Strategy and Capacity, Yvonne Harris said: "Once the legislation is passed we are ready to produce cheques and we're ready to start issuing those cheques."

The relevant piece of legislation, the Water Services Bill, passed through Committee stage last week and should be up before the Dail, and then the Seanad, next week.

If all goes to plan in Leinster House, Irish Water say they will begin the refund process immediately.

What is the schedule for the refunds being paid?

Irish Water said today that 30,000 cheques a day will be issued once they start the process but with just shy of 1,000,000 people paying some or all of their Irish Water bills, it will take a number of months to process all the refunds.

Do I need to do anything to get my refund?

According to Irish Water, you only need to contact them if you have changed address and your details need to be updated. Everyone else can just sit back and wait for the cheque to arrive.

Will I get my refund before Christmas?

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy said earlier this year that all refunds would be processed by the end of the year if the legislation was passed by mid October.

As that date has now passed, Yvonne Harris has said that some customers will not receive their refund cheque until January.

I paid with a direct debit, why are they sending me a cheque?

According to Irish Water: "We want to refund our customers efficiently and securely within the time frame given. Cheques are the most effective method available to do this while also ensuring we refund to the correct person.

And how much will I get?

According to Irish Water: "The amount you paid to Irish Water in domestic billing charges will be refunded to you."

What is the link to the new Irish Water site?

Here you go. https://www.water.ie/for-home/refunds/

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