Operating profits at Irish Water rise 46% to €382m

The utility’s overall revenues for 2021 rose by 12% from €1.06bn to €1.19bn

Operating profits at Irish Water last year rose by 46 per cent to €382.34 million.

The utility’s 2021 annual report shows that it recorded the jump in operating profits as its State subvention last year increased by 9.5 per cent from €815 million to €893 million.

The utility’s overall revenues for 2021 rose by 12 per cent from €1.06 billion to €1.19 billion.

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The overall income includes commercial revenues totalling €298.08 million, made up of non-domestic revenues increasing from €173 million to €198.4 million andfrom new connections increasing from €73.19 million to €99.6 million.

The State has provided annual subventions to the utility since first suspending domestic water charges in 2016 before formally abolishing them in 2017 after major public opposition to the charges.

The charges were set aside after more than €500 million was spent on installing about 820,000 water metres across the country.

After interest costs of €3.4 million and combined non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €152.27 million are taken into account, Irish Water last year recorded pretax profits of €226.63 million — an 87 per cent increase on 2020′s pretax profits of €120.68 million.

All surpluses at Irish Water are reinvested to fund critical infrastructure projects.

Operating costs last year increased from €758.49 million to €799.25 million.

Irish Water — which has total assets of €4.5 billion — last year completed a capital spend programme of €851 million.

The figures also show that the numbers earning more than €100,000 last year increased by 43 from 133 to 176.

The report shows that 11 staff received in excess of €175,000 while managing director, Niall Gleeson received a pay package of €239,000 — the same level as 2020.

This was made up of a basic salary of €200,000, pension contributions of €24,000 and short-term employee benefits of €15,000.

The report shows that 13 staff received between €150,000 and €175,000, 28 staff between €125,000 and €150,000 and 124 staff received between €100,000 and €150,000.

Irish Water employs 823 and staff costs last year totalled €81.8 million.

In a statement accompanying the report, Mr Gleeson said providing safe, clean drinking water was “a significant challenge due to decades of underinvestment in our water infrastructure, but we are making steady progress”.

He said that “with 790,000 people in 16 water supplies removed from the remedial action list [RAL] in the past year. The number of customers nationwide on the RAL is now at its lowest ever level.”

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times