‘Average’ water charge to be known by May, says Kenny

Healy questions if 18,000 homes on boil water notices will have to pay charges

The Taoiseach has revealed that 18,000 homes across the State were on boil water notices and said the Environmental Protection Agency had reported that 16 per cent of supplies were at risk.

The Taoiseach has revealed that 18,000 homes across the State were on boil water notices and said the Environmental Protection Agency had reported that 16 per cent of supplies were at risk.

Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 00:54

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted the “average charge” of water rates for householders will be known before the local and European elections in May.

Mr Kenny said the Government would create the financial and business model for Irish Water and the “level of subvention will determine the average charge, which will be known by everybody before the local elections”.

The Taoiseach also revealed that 18,000 homes across the State were on ‘boil water’ notices and said the Environmental Protection Agency had reported that 16 per cent of supplies were at risk. He said the charges were necessary because of this and the European Commission’s pilot infringement procedure against Ireland over 80 water treatment plants.

He was responding to Independent Tipperary South TD Seamus Healy, who pointed to comments by Irish Water representatives and the Commission for Energy Regulation which suggested indicative charges would not be revealed until June and the charge for individual householders would be set in August.

Mr Kenny had told the TD last week the charges would be known before the May 23rd elections. On Wednesday he confirmed the Government would, before the local elections, “produce, publish and debate the financial and business model dealing with the structure and running of Irish Water”.

He said the financial model would include “the level of subvention the Government intends to provide from the taxpayer for the allowance that will be included in that structure. This will set out the average charge per household.”

Shortly afterwards, the water authority “will submit to the regulator its detailed plan, taking into account what has been determined in Government policy and decisions”.

Mr Healy said, however, the Taoiseach was now refusing to release information he had last week pledged to publish within a “couple of weeks” about the extent of the water charge, and water usage levels.

Mr Healy wanted to know whether people on boil water notice would have to pay and if there was a greater allowance for larger families or those with a medical condition requiring greater use of water.

He accused the Government of “making a deliberate attempt to confuse the public and hide the details of the charges until after the local and European elections”.

Mr Kenny said such details “must all be worked out”.