More hardship could be on the way for East Cork.
Irish Water began their metering programme on 1 October. Residents throughout East Cork can expect their first bill to be issued in January 2015.
The department of social protection have confirmed to the eastcork journal that those who do not qualify for the household package will have to pay full water charges. Those on community employment schemes (CE schemes) and social welfare which includes the long and short term unemployed will be caught to pay the full fees.
Earlier this week the commission for energy regulation published the rates at which water will be charged. All customers will have their total charges capped at the unmetered assessed charge for 9 months from the installation of the water meter.
Rates and allowances will be kept at the current levels until 2016 which means after this date water rates could be increased and allowances reduced.
Elizabeth Arnett of Irish Water has confirmed residences that have a disabled person visiting for short periods of 4 days a week on a regular basis will not have their allowance increased. In a national radio interview she stated “these individuals would already have their allowance allocated at their primary residence.”
At present customers will receive a 100% discount on the water supply element of their charge where the water is unfit for human consumption, for example if a boil water notice is in place for at least 24 hours. Waste water will continue to be charged where they are a customer of Irish Water.
Where a customer’s metered water consumption is shown to be less than the assessed consumption used in the assessed charge, a rebate will be given to the customer after a period of 6 months.
The annual minimum charge for a combined water supply and wastewater service at a non-primary residence has been reduced from €160 to €125 per annum, or €62.50 per service per annum.
It’s expected that approximately 80% of homes will have a meter by the end of 2016. If you do not have a meter yet you will be on an assessed charge. An assessed charge is based on the estimate of how much a home with a certain number of occupants will consume. A combined charge of €176 for a household with one adult and approximately €102 for every extra adult will apply for both water supply and waste water services. Charges will be shown separately on the bill.
This annual charge is calculated on the basis 66,000 litres of consumption for a single adult house hold and 21,000 litres for each additional adult per year. Currently children have a free assessment of 21,000 litres. Any additional litres consumed over the allowance will be charged at €4.88 per 1,000 litres.
For Schools, Hospitals, Community Centres and commercial businesses right across East Cork it’s business as usual as these types of premises would already be subject to water charges.
Currently water is VAT exempt here in Ireland.
Because water usage varies enormously, it is difficult to give a precise average water use. The average spend by a British Household on water in 2013 – 2014 was between €446 – €602.
The table below provides an estimation of what the British Consumer Council for Water (CCW) believe is a rough figure compared to the Irish regulator’s estimate. If the UK estimates are correct Irish consumers would see a dramatic increase in their annual bills.