IRISH WATER WILL begin asking for people’s PPS numbers in the “next couple of weeks” as it prepares to begin the roll-out of water charges from next year.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Irish Water’s Elizabeth Arnett said that the company realises that it is “unusual for a utility to ask for this kind of detail” but that they are doing so to ensure people receive the allowances they are entitled to:
This is an unusual territory for a utility to be in but we have been charged by Government to assign allowances per household so each household is to receive 30,000 litres for free and every child in the state is to have free water.
“So in assigning those Government allowances we are looking for the PPS numbers to get that right. It’s not unusual for PPS numbers to be asked for in the context of Government benefits,” she added.
Enda Kenny recently reiterated his pledge that water services for children will be free and stated that the average household charge will not exceed €240 per year.
Arnett says that Irish Water wants to make sure that people get the allowances they’re entitled to in an “easy, transparent and accountable” way.
She adds that the company has been working with the Data Protection Commissioner as it begins to engage directly with customers:
As you can imagine a utility like ours will hold a lot of data from our customers. So we have an ongoing engagement with the Data Protection Commissioner to ensure, first of all that we have the appropriate authority to ask these kind of questions and also appropriate systems and internal systems in place to ensure that we handle this data in the most appropriate way.