Minister Kelly announces water reforms

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has announced that the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has approved a water charges plan for Irish Water.

A statement was released stating: The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has approved a water charges plan for Irish Water, following detailed scrutiny of the underlying costs of Irish Water and taking account of the policy framework set by Government through a Ministerial Direction. However, the process to date has operated to demanding timelines that do not reflect the scale of the endeavour in moving from local government delivery to a fully
regulated public utility in such a short space of time. In advance of the completion of the metering programme, the charging regime is overly complex, not well understood by the public and has created uncertainty for customers regarding their bills in 2015 and beyond. The Government has therefore reviewed the over-arching policy framework and will, by legislative means, introduce measures to provide the required clarity and certainty and ensure that water charges are affordable for customers.

 

The key measures are as follows:

  • Starting date for domestic water charging now pushed back to 1 January 2015; first bills to issue from
  • April 2015.
  • Capped annual charges are being set – the capped charges will be €160 for single adult  households and €260 for all other households until end 2018, with specific legislative provision to be made to allow for capped charges to continue to be set from 2019 onwards;
  • All eligible households will receive a water conservation grant of €100 per year;
  • The net yearly cost for water will be either €60 for a single adult household or €160 for all other households until the end of 2018;
  • For the purpose of metered bills, the charge for water in/out is reduced to €3.70 per 1,000 litres (almost 25% lower than the previous subsidised rate);
  • Households with either a water supply only or sewage only service will pay 50% of these rates;
  • Metered usage can lead to lower charges than the relevant capped charge; the Children’s allowance remains at 21,000 litres per annum and will apply to all persons resident in the dwelling aged under 18 (irrespective of whether the child qualifies for Child Benefit), meaning children will continue to go free;
  • Dwellings that are not permanently occupied will pay a minimum of €125 per year (€62.50 per service) up to a cap of €260;
  • PPS Numbers will not be required for registration with Irish Water