Irish Water reduces free allowance for children

Allocation of 38,000 litres announcedby Government cut to 21,000 litres

The Coalition said in May that the free allowance for children would be set at 38,000 litres per year, but draft price plans published by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) yesterday said “the normal consumption of a child is currently expected to be 21,000 litres per year”.

The Coalition said in May that the free allowance for children would be set at 38,000 litres per year, but draft price plans published by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) yesterday said “the normal consumption of a child is currently expected to be 21,000 litres per year”.

Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 01:00

Irish Water has insisted children will be provided with an adequate allowance to ensure their water usage is free after substantially decreasing the initial allocation announced by the Government earlier this year.

The Coalition said in May that the free allowance for children would be set at 38,000 litres per year, but draft price plans published by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) yesterday said “the normal consumption of a child is currently expected to be 21,000 litres per year”.

A spokeswoman for Irish Water last night said children will go free and the free allocation per litre could be increased if data proves 21,000 litres is insufficient.

The CER proposals also said all water bills would be capped for six months from this October, when households will first be charged for water usage.

The cap will be at the level of the assessed charge, which is the figure, based on household occupancy, to be levied on homes without water meters when charging starts.

Metered water

Any metered homes which come in under that amount will be charged only for their usage, but the move is designed to allow people “to get used to metered water charges, make adjustments to reduce their consumption and control their bills”.

Customers who subsequently discover they were using less than suggested by the assessed charge will be entitled to a rebate.

This will also apply to the first six months after a meter is installed even if it is outside the initial timeframe, beginning from October. Irish Water aims to have some 80 per cent of meters installed by the end of 2016.

The assessed charge for homes which use just one water service, water or wastewater, such as those with septic tanks, rises from €88 a year for one person to €292 for a property with five occupants.

This will largely affect those in rural areas while homes connected to public water schemes will pay for both water supply and wastewater services.

Assessed charge

The assessed charge for these homes starts at €176 for one person and rises to €584 for a home with five adults.

The cost per thousand litres also differs between those with and without septic tanks; coming in at €2.44 and €4.88 respectively.

The CER documents say “it is worth noting that unmetered charges are a transitional issue and that the majority of Irish households will have transferred to a metered charge by the end of phase one of the meter installation programme in September 2016”.

The assumption when calculating the assessed charge is that the first adult in the house will use 66,000 litres a year, with every additional adult adding an extra 21,000 litres.

All homes will receive a free allowance of 30,000 litres, paid for by the Government, and a 50 per cent discount will be given to those whose water in unfit for consumption.

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen said the final bills would be much more than the €240 initially announced as the average charge by the Government, and accused the Coalition of “dishonesty”.