Water charges will apply from October 2014, with the first bills due to be issued by “Irish Water” in January 2015. Irish Water will be contacting every household to request details including who is living in the household in order to claim the relevant free allowances. The occupier (tenant in case of a rented dwelling) will be asked to respond with the information.
In general, the occupier is the customer, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay the water charges if the tenant doesn’t comply People can chose to register their details online, complete the personalised form in the pack or contact Irish Water by phone to register.
How much will it cost?
The details of water charges have not yet been decided, but the draft Water Charges Plan is due to be published this week (end July 2014). It will be open for public consultation for 4 weeks.
The Minister has directed that every household should get a free allowance of 30,000 litres per year. Holiday homes will not get this allowance and there will probably be a basic charge for them.
There will be an extra free allowance per child, based on the same qualifying conditions as Child Benefit. The level of consumption in a sample of metered households with children is being checked at present. This information will be fed into the final decision on the amount of the child allowance.
Bills will be capped for customers with medical conditions that require high water usage. Qualifying medical conditions have not yet been set out, but home kidney dialysis will be included.
The Household Benefits Package will be extended to help with water costs. The extra amount will be about €100 per year, starting in 2015.
How will it be measured
In the long term every residence will be fitted with a meter. However bills for households that don’t yet have meters will be assessed on the basis of occupancy. If it turns out that they actually use less than this (after they get a meter) there will be provision for rebates on the assessed charge.
For customers whose metered usage in the initial period exceeds the average charge assessed for their type of household, the bill will be capped at the assessed charge until the first 6 (or possibly 12) months has elapsed or the first fix has been done. A “first fix free” policy has been announced – details are not yet available.
The Water charges document on citizensinformation.ie will be updated with links to whatever material is available as soon as the draft plan is published.