TODAY DURING LEADERS’ questions the Taoiseach was asked to clarify when people would know the extent of their water charges.
There was confusion recently due to Taoiseach Enda Kenny promising consumers they would know by May, before the local elections, what they would be paying.
However, yesterday the energy regulator Paul McGowan told the Oireachtas Environment Committee that a public consultation on the structure of water charges and customer protection issues will take place in April following submissions from Irish Water by the end of this month.
By June, the energy regulator said he will hold a consultation on water charge levels based on submissions from Irish Water with a decision in July on the codes of practices and finally a decision on the structure of water charges and the level of water charges in August.
Seamus Healy TD for Tipperary South said he wanted a “definitive answer” stating that Irish Water is stating something different than the Taoiseach and asked was it the case that “one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing”.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said, “I stand by what I said,” adding that before the local elections a “financial and business model for Irish Water” will be produced and debated.
He said within that report, the level of subvention and allowance will be set out and the average charge per household will be known.
“I cannot tell you what your charge will be,” he said, adding “I do not know if you wash your car three times a week or not”.
“The government said that there would be a free allowance per person and a levy charged after that,” he said. He added the government would be making a decision about the level of subvention available.
Healy told him to stop “ducking and diving” and to explain when people will know what they will be charged.
Kenny said there should be no confusion and that the average charge per household will be known before the local elections.