Silouette graphic representing Tipperary


The CER has commenced public consultation on the proposed structure of tariffs. The Minister will publish the proposed direction to the CER in draft form, and so there will be ample opportunity for engagement on these issues in advance of the final setting of the charges by the CER in August 2014.
Consultation by the CER in late June will provide information on the financial costs of Irish Water and the proposed level and structure of charges.
Irish Water will deal with all the practical arrangements flowing from the CER consideration and Government decisions, including direct engagement with customers on qualifying for the free allowance as the process develops.

Each household will receive a free allowance of 30,000 litres of supplied water (and a corresponding amount of waste water) a year per primary residence. In addition, households will receive an additional free allowance for every child under 18 (aligned with entitlement to child benefit) to cover a child’s normal consumption of water supplied and waste water treated (this will be up to 38,000 litres per annum - the level of consumption underpinning this allowance to be verified from actual metering data); effectively, water charges will only apply to adults.
This means for a family of 2 adults and 2 young children, using about 190,000 litres of water, the free
allowance will be 106,000 litres - more than 50% of their usage.

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government will issue a direction to the CER, following consultation with the Minister for Health, the HSE and Irish Water on qualifying conditions, which will for example include people using home kidney dialysis.

People with high water usage for certain medical conditions will have their bills capped at the relevant assessed charge.
The absence of a standing charge for domestic customers will benefit smaller households, who can then manage their usage, and the free allowance for children will benefit families.
Irish Water’s water charges plan will have to take account of the quality of services provided to customers, including circumstances where services are reduced or restricted (e.g. due to boil water notices).

During 2014, the CER is expected to publicly consult and make decisions on a number of issues,
domestic water charges tariff design and structure;
non-domestic water charges tariff structure and glide path;
Irish Water’s interim revenue requirement (2014 to mid-2016);
customer protection measures, including codes of practice; and
connection charging methodology.
The current timeline for the CER’s public consultations and decisions is:
Domestic tariff structure (part of water charges plan) – consultation underway
Non-domestic tariff structure and glidepath (part of water charges plan) – consultation underway
Water customer handbook – consultation underway
Water charges plan (including allowed revenue, tariff structures and levels, and connection charging methodology) – consultation
This paper will include draft decisions on the domestic tariff structure, non-domestic tariff structure and glidepath, and connection charging policy
Water Customer Handbook (decision)
Water Charges Plan (decision)

The current subvention of group water schemes will be adjusted to align subvention with the free allowance approach towards households on public water supplies to ensure households in this sector receive equivalent support, while allowing for any transitional issues, to sustain improvements in quality in the group water sector. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government will consult with the National Federation of Group Water Schemes on arrangements for the group water sector.

The occupier of a premises is liable for paying domestic water charges. Under the Water Services (No.2) Act 2013, it is presumed that the owner of a premises is the occupier unless proved otherwise. Where a customer fails to pay a charge, it shall be recoverable by Irish Water as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Water and wastewater services are expensive and require increased infrastructural investment after years of under investment. The current funding situation, with only approximately 15% of costs borne directly by users, is unsustainable.
The public water system requires urgent and increased investment. 23,500 people are on boil water notices. 40% of our water supply is lost on leakage. 16% of our water supplies are at risk, affecting over 1 million people.
One-third of secondary waste water treatment plants had inadequate effluent standards in 2012.
There is virtually no spare supply capacity in Dublin. With increased investment, these issues can be addressed.
In order to secure extra investment in water services (to improve water quality, tackle pollution and address leakage), the Government is applying the user pays principle to water services. Those who use water will pay for it directly.

The CER has commenced public consultation on the proposed structure of tariffs and this includes consideration of transitional arrangements for people moving from assessed to metered charges. The Minister has indicated his intention that CER should in this context ensure provision for retrospective adjustment of charges including a rebate (above a reasonable threshold).

The Minister intends issuing a direction to the CER requiring it to ensure provision for retrospective adjustment of charges, i.e. a household’s charges will be adjusted if assessed bills are higher, and above a certain threshold, than metered usage shows they should have been.