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Householders to wait six months for water cost info

CONSUMERS won't find out the full extent of water charges until August, the energy regulator has confirmed.

The news emerged just one week after Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged that a full breakdown can be expected before the May elections.

REGULATOR

The latest detail was revealed by energy regulator Paul McGowan at the Oireachtas environment committee hearing.

He said that the Commission for Energy Regulation will consider cost submissions from Irish Water.

Irish Water has meanwhile told the committee that it will make an interim price control submission to the regulator within "a few weeks".

There have been 115,000 meters installed to date and the organisation said that it was meeting a monthly installations target of 27,000 per month.

TDS were told that Irish Water will spend €10bn over two decades on infrastructure projects like fixing leaky pipes.

At the moment, 40pc of supply is lost through burst or broken mains, Irish Water MD John Tierney said.

But it will take 20 years to bring this rate down to international levels, Mr Tierney told the Dail Environment Committee.

"We are critically dependent on some very old and vulnerable assets which have a high risk of failure," Mr Tierney said.

"The Exchequer does not have the funds required to invest and investment is often ad hoc and sub-optimal. Local authorities have had to cope in this environment and struggle to keep services going.

"There are no quick fixes; it is going to take time, substantial investment and a long-term strategic approach."

RISK

Mr Tierney added: "This is the only viable way to resolve this problem for the country."

The committee also heard that massive underinvestment has meant that the existing network is not fit for purpose and poses a health risk due to the danger of contaminated supply.

The news comes as it is revealed the Government is at risk of a €120m fine from the EU because more than 25pc of waste water facilities don't meet effluent standards.

COMURPHY@HERALD.IE


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