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Water-charge bill defaulters will be cut off

HOUSEHOLDERS who refuse to pay the new water charge and the estimated €400 meter installation fee will have their supply disconnected.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan warned that water charge defaulters would be treated in exactly the same manner as those who refuse to pay their electricity or gas bills.

SUPPLY

THE WARNING CAME AS MR HOGAN AND IRISH WATER ROLLED-OUT THE NEW METERING REGIME WITH THE CREATION OF 2,000 CALL CENTRE AND METER INSTALLATION JOBS.

Over one million water meters will be installed outside Irish homes from next July to 2016 in one of the biggest capital projects undertaken in State history.

The Government will now negotiate next month with the IMF/EU over the start date for water charges which will be pushed back from January 1 next year.

Mr Hogan, who cheerily waved to 30 anti-water charge protesters who jeered his arrival in Cork, refused to comment on the likely water charge fee to be introduced next year.

It is expected that the water charge will be in the region of €200 to €300 a year for an average household.

Water meter supply and installation costs vary from €150 up to over €500.

"We would expect we will have discussions concluded with the Troika in the next couple of weeks and it will be clear then in terms of the time of the introduction of water charges," Mr Hogan said. "We have made it clear that we would like to see it pushed back somewhat from January 1, 2014.

"We are expecting to make progress on that ... but the precise date will be known in the next couple of weeks."

He told the Herald he expected to see a similar response to the new water charge as to the property tax which was paid by over 80pc of households.

EXPENSIVE

HE WAS BLUNT ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES FOR WON'T PAY.

"If they pay there won't be anyone turned off, that's what happens with electricity and gas.

"Water is a very expensive and finite resource. It is costing €1bn in taxes already in order to treat water."

hnews@herald.ie


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