THE largest bin service provider in South Dublin has defended its decision to impose an upfront annual charge on customers.
Dublin firm Greyhound Recycling and Recovery wrote to all 60,000 customers this week detailing its plans to introduce a new "pricing structure".
The plans mean customers will now be charged based on the weight of their waste and will also be required to pay a new annual €60 service charge by October 1.
Customers were informed in the letter that, if they fail to pay the charge, their bins will not be collected.
The company stated today that the changes are part of a "new pricing structure" but that the measures mean customers will save money overall.
However councillors have today blasted the measures.
Labour councillor Dermot Looney told the Herald that he has been "inundated" with calls from concerned residents who claim they will struggle to afford the charge.
"The company has given residents a shameful period of notice. This has been sprung on people and the letters themselves have shown a complete lack of clarity," he said.
And Independent councillor Gus O'Connell described the move as "underhanded".
"We have never had this standing charge before in the county. These changes have frightened and frustrated people.
"People have been given just over three weeks to pay this charge and that it is not acceptable."
A company spokesperson admitted that it the charge was "new" but said the changes would leave customers better off overall.
"We acknowledge that this is an upfront charge but customers are overall saving money by the new pricing structure. We have reduced the fortnightly price per bin collection by over 40pc.
The spokesperson added that the company will not collect bins if the charge is unpaid by October 1.
"It is company policy that if your account is not in order your bins will not be collected. The majority of customers keep their accounts in order anyway."
Greyhound Recycling was successful in its bid to land a lucrative contract to collect domestic rubbish on behalf of the local authority in March.
The company promised not to increase bin charges and maintains that this week's measures does not mean it is reneging on that pledge.