Wednesday 21 March 2018

Houses with 'undrinkable' supply still face charges

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

HOUSEHOLDERS who can't drink their water will still have to pay three-quarters of the water charges.

At the moment, around 23,000 people across the country cannot drink the water coming out of their taps.

Homes in places where the water is unfit for human consumption will get a discount on their bill.

Half of the water charges cover the supply of water coming in, while the remaining half is to cover the cost of sewerage.

Where boil water notices or other warnings are in place, householders will get a reduction of a half on the water supply portion of the bill.

For example, in the case of a family with two children, this would mean their annual bill being reduced by €70 to €209.

If the boil water notice remains in place for three months, Irish Water won't be allowed to charge for any of the water supply portion.

This means there will be a 50pc discount on the overall bill.

If there is another type of warning on the consumption of water, the full 50pc discount will also kick in after six months.

Fianna Fail environment spokesman Barry Cowen queried why customers were being asked to pay for a service that wasn't up to standards.

"If they can't drink the water, why should they pay for any of the water," he said.

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has also said improving the quality of service is an "important challenge" for Irish Water.

The regulator wants capital projects to be prioritised.

The CER also wants to bring in an assessment system which will "incentivise" Irish Water to improve its performance.

The performance will be measured by customer service, drinking water standards and environmental compliance.

CER will also tell Irish Water to set out a timeline for the collection of data for a full performance assessment from the start of 2017.

Irish Independent

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