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Irish Water will take on €130 million debt in uncollected water charges

All assets and liabilities from local authorities are due to be transferred to Irish Water by 2017.

Image: Shutterstock

IT IS ESTIMATED that Irish Water will take on between €100-130 million in debt from uncollected commercial water charges.

While the protests rage on against domestic water charges, commercial water charges continue to be pursued by local councils on behalf of Irish Water.

Charges for water usage by businesses are imposed by local authorities and the money is collected by rate collectors employed by the local authority.

However, with Irish Water taking over the utility, they have taken over the responsibility of making sure any outstanding commercial water debt balances are paid.

Debt transfer

Under the set up of Irish Water, it is stated that any assets and liabilities (debts) the council have in relation to water charges, will be transferred to the books of Irish Water by 2017.

Irish Water confirmed to TheJournal.ie, that while the “debt fluctuates due to billing cycles and seasonal factors” they envisage the debt should range of between €100 – 130 million.

Local Authorities are continuing to operate the non-domestic billing system on behalf of Irish Water for 2014 and this is likely to continue into 2015, they said.

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However, some local authorities have been criticised for their soft touch approach when it comes to collecting non-domestic water charges arrears.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Dublin Councils are owed €32 million in water charges, with Dublin City Council owed the most money, at nearly €16 million.

Irish Water told TheJournal.ie:

Debt is currently being pursued in the normal way. Irish Water is liaising closely with Local Authorities in this regard to ensure collection is maximised.

They said that by the end of this year Irish Water will begin to take over the billing and collection of non‐domestic customers directly, however, details of the collection process will be worked out with the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). 

Read: No decision made on who will collect commercial water charges under Irish Water>

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