THE GOVERNMENT HAS confirmed the much-anticipated changes to water charges in the Dáil this afternoon.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly has announced the changes agreed at Cabinet this morning following months of controversy over Irish Water and exactly how much households would have to pay.
The result is that charges have been reduced considerably with two flat rates introduced that will be in place until the end of 2018.
Here’s what you need to know…
- Every household in the country will be entitled to €100 rebate from the Department of Social Protection if they sign up with Irish Water.
- There are two capped rates. If you are an adult living on your own you will pay €60 per year for water when the €100 rebate is included – or around €1.15 a week.
- If you are an adult living with one or more adults you will pay pay €160 per year for water when the €100 rebate is included – or around €3 a week.
- So effectively no household in the country will have to pay more than €160 a year for water.
- These capped charges – the maximum amount people will have to pay – will be in place until 1 January 2019.
- Households with either a water supply only or sewage only service will pay 50 per cent of the new rates.
- If you have a meter installed and your water usage comes in under the capped rate you will only pay the metered rate.
- The government estimates that half of households could “beat the cap” if they reduce water consumption by between 15 and 20 per cent.
- Billing will apply from 1 January 2015 and first bills will be issued on 1 April 2015
- You will no longer have to register your PPS number with Irish Water and the utility will delete any PPS numbers already collected
- Occupiers are liable for water bills which means if you are renting then you are liable.
- The deadline to register with Irish Water has been extended to 2 February 2015
What if I don’t pay?
- For those who do not register you will receive an automatic €260 bill and will not qualify for the €100 rebate.
- Late payment penalites of €30 for a single adult household and €60 for other households will be added to bills three months following a year of non-payment.
- If you refuse to pay, the charges will be attached to your home meaning water bills would remain outstanding when trying to sell your home.
- Plans to cut off people’s water supply or reduce it to a trickle if they don’t pay will be scrapped.
Also announced today
- Over 500,000 meters have now been installed.
- There will be no Irish Water call out or service charge from Irish Water. If households have an internal leak they call a plumber, as they always did.
- The principle of capping charges will be outlined in legislation. This means a cap on charges could be in place beyond 2018.
- The government is planning legislation to ensure that Irish Water cannot be privatised without a plebiscite of the people.
- The government is reducing its subvention to Irish Water and exempting it from €60m owed to local authorities to ensure it passes the market corporation test which stipulates that over half of Irish Water’s revenue must come from charges.
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