More than half of homes pay water bills in second cycle

Compliance with water charges now stands at 51 per cent

Irish Water

Initial results released earlier this summer for the first bills sent by the company showed that 43 per cent of homes had paid their water charges.

The figures were seized on by anti-water charges protesters, while Eurostat also cited poor compliance rates as a reason to classify Irish Water on the Government balance sheet earlier this year.

The first billing cycle covered usage for January, February and March and 675,000 households, out of a total of 1.52 million, paid. The second billing cycle applied for usage over April, May and June, with these bills sent from July.

Irish Water has yet to send out all bills for this period.

In a statement to The Irish Times, Irish Water said 100,000 more homes had so far paid their water bills than had initially done for the first three months of billing.

The company said the number of homes now paying bills is “at least” 775,000, which gives a compliance rate of 51 per cent. The company also said some people were paying their first bill at the same time as their second.

Government sources have expressed hope the compliance rate will rise to 60 per cent by the time of the general election.

During the second billing cycle, Irish Water issued reminders for the first time to homes which had not paid their bills. The reminders included letters, text messages and telephone calls.

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Paudie Coffey said the “momentum is building” on compliance. “We won’t have the full cycle until the end of October but the indications are good and as time will pass compliance will grow,” he said. “Obviously nobody likes new charges but there are no alternatives.”