Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Bord Gais to operate Irish Water - no up-front charge for water meter

From RTE

Mr Hogan told the Cabinet that the current system was unsustainable and the new structure would create jobs, stop leaks and ensure compliance with public health standards.

He said work on installing the meters will begin in October, but said apartment blocks were a problem and would not be metered immediately.

Mr Hogan predicted that by the time billing commenced in 2014, up to 95% of households would be metered with the remainder being assessed for payment.

Households would not be asked to pay for meters with an upfront charge and the programme of metering and charges will only apply to households connected to a public water supply.

Mr Hogan said the programme was being financed by a loan from the National Pension Reserve Fund on commercial terms.

He said the average annual repayment approximated to around €40 per household per annum which would be levied as a standing charge in the same way as other utilities.

The Minister said meters would have to be replaced every seven years or so but the cost of that would be borne by Irish Water.

Mr Hogan told a press briefing that he was bringing clarity to the situation following confusion at the weekend over the scheme, saying he could not be responsible for what appeared in newspapers.
He said the decision to set up Irish Water was one of the biggest taken by any government since the establishment of the ESB.

Earlier, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said "pricing arrangements" and proposals for the establishment of a company to administer water charges have yet to go before Government.

Speaking as he entered Government Buildings for today's Cabinet meeting, Mr Gilmore said in response to questions on payments for water meters, "proposals for pricing have not yet been worked out".

He said a number of stages had to be undertaken which included installing meters and agreeing a water allowance for each home and the charges that would apply thereafter.

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