Kenny says householders will pay for water meters

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this evening householders will pay for their water meters but not for the cost of installation.

Mr Kenny said he could not comment on the likely cost of the meters as this would have to be decided by the regulator. The cost of installation would be covered by a loan from the National Pensions Reserve Fund, he said.

Over a million homes will require meters to be installed by the end of next year if water charges are to be introduced on schedule in 2014, as set out in the EU-ECB-IMF deal.

Campaigners against water charges are predicting widespread chaos if householders are charged for the installation of water meters and say their campaign will be “double and treble” that of the one underway against the household charge. 

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said the cost of buying water meters would be borne by householders. 

“Similar to how other regulated utilities are funded globally the cost of the meters and the delivery of service will be passed on to the consumers,” the spokesman said. 

However, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore appeared to contradict this when he said: “No decision has yet been made on how water meters are to be paid for.” 

Though a figure of between €300 and €350 per household’s meter installation has been used by the Department in the past, the spokesman said the €300 figure was “purely speculation” and the cost would “vary depending on the location of the property”. 

The Commission for Energy Regulation would be responsible for determining the cost, the free allowance, the approval of a capital investment programme and the framework for levying the charges, he said. 

“The Department has prepared detailed cost-estimates on meters following extensive market soundings.” It would be “inappropriate” to release estimated figures, he added, before a “competitive procurement process”. 

Deputy Joe Higgins predicted an even greater boycott of water charges than the current almost 50 per cent non-payment of the household charge, and said widespread refusal to pay the cost of supplying and installing meters would cause “chaos”, as some households paid and had meters installed, while others didn’t.