Water charges will not apply to homes with undrinkable supply

Metered charges, which come into effect tomorrow, will be capped for first nine months

Boiled water notices have been in place for a number of years in Co Roscommon. We speak to some of the 22,000 customers in the county who have to boil water for washing vegetables, brushing teeth and drinking. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

Irish Water customers will have their metered charges capped at an assessed rate for the first nine months, according to the Commission for Energy Regulation.

Irish Water had proposed that everyone would have their bills capped at the assessed rate for the first six months of charging, meaning any use above that level will be free. Those who come under that level will be entitled to a rebate.

However, the CER has extended this period to nine months, or the first three billing periods, to allow people get to grips with water metering and how their usage will affect their bills.

The Regulator also said this morning householders whose water supply is not fit for human consumption will not have to pay a water supply charge.

The free allowances remains at 30,000 litres per household and 21,000 litres per child annually, the level at which Irish Water says will enable children to go free.

Speaking this morning, Paul McGowan of the commission, said it would review the allowance for children on a quarterly basis.

“It is based on metered data over a nine-month period. If we continue to monitor it and 21,000 is not in fact correct, then we will in fact make adjustments,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

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Mr McGowan said the CER has committed to make these adjustments, if required, during the interim review period.

Metered rates have been set at €4.88 for 1,000 litres of water - or just under half of one cent per litre - for properties requiring both the waste and drinking water services.

A property that only requires one of the services - for example a house with a septic tank for dealing with waste water - will be charged at a rate of €2.44 per 1,000 litres.

The assessed charge applies to those who do not have meters installed, and is an estimated amount based on the number of people living in the home.

The assessed charge starts at €176 for a one adult home, with an extra €102 added for every additional adult.

Children will not be included in assessed charges because they go free.

The CER also confirmed that householders whose water supply is unfit for human consumption are expected to receive an immediate 50 per cent discount on their water bills under revised compensation plans.

Charges will be levied on water supply, as well as waste-water, and everyone will pay for waste-water, which comprises 50 per cent of the bill, regardless of water supply quality.

Under this system homes with septic tanks installed do not pay for their waste-water services.

Currently, where a water supply has been declared unfit for human consumption for less than three months the householder gets half off their water input supply, or 25 per cent of the total bill.

Where the supply is unfit for drinking and there is a boil-water notice for more than three months they get a 50 per cent discount off the total bill, or 100 per cent of their inward water supply for free.

It will also confirm that homeowners will not have to provide evidence that they suffer from a medical condition when applying to have their water bill capped on health grounds.

The assessed charges for non primary residences, such as holiday homes, which do not have meters installed will be reduced from €160 to €125. The €100 addition to the household benefits package will be spread evenly over four bills a year, or €25 per bill.