How will the Irish Water bill be structured?
For households fitted with an Irish Water meter when charging commences, charges will be based on usage above a free allowance. Each household will receive a free allowance of 30,000 litres of water (and a corresponding amount of waste water treated) a year. To put this in context: the average household (2.7 people) uses about 140,000 litres of water per year in relation to its primary residence.
In addition, households will receive from Irish Water a free allowance to cover a child’s normal consumption of water supplied and waste water treated so that charges only apply to adults in households.
The allowance per child will be up to 38,000 litres per annum - the level of consumption underpinning this allowance to be verified from actual metering data); charges will be based on usage above the free allowance. The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) will, following public consultation, determine the water tariff as part of Irish Water’s water charges plan – the CER has indicated that this will be finalised in August.
Households connected to the public systems but without an Irish Water meter will be charged on an assessed basis, using a good proxy for usage. The CER will, following public consultation, determine the assessed water tariff as part of Irish Water’s water charges plan, which will be finalised in August.
In addition, the Minister will be issuing the CER with a direction, using his statutory powers, to provide that:
the fixing of domestic charges for 2015 and 2016;
there will be no standing charge for domestic customers for social and environmental
reasons (a minimum charge may be applied to properties that are not permanently
occupied e.g. holiday homes);
assessed charges will be based primarily on occupancy and possibly refined based on
data from metered usage to ensure that they are as close a proxy for metered usage as
the CER to ensure provision is made for retrospective adjustment of charges including a
rebate (above a reasonable threshold) in the context of transitional arrangements for
people from moving from assessed to metered home;
charges to be capped for people with high water usage due to certain medical
Irish Water 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).