First me­ters to be in­stalled in July

Bray People - - THE NOTEBOOK -

WHETHER you are in favour of them or not, water charges are a re­al­ity and the first of the coun­try's me­ters will be in­stalled in July.

While the Government is still in the early stages of rolling out the changes which will see domestic water us­age charged through me­ters in­stalled into pri­vate homes the scheme is ex­pected to be fully op­er­a­tional by the end of 2016.

This year will see the first homes re­ceive their me­ters and this work will con­tinue for an es­ti­mated three years im­ple­mented by newly formed in­de­pen­dent Bord Gáis sub­sidiary Ir­ish Water.

Speak­ing to the Wicklow Peo­ple, a spokesman for Bord Gáis ex­plained how the roll­out will com­mence.

‘Ir­ish Water is pub­li­cally owned and it is im­por­tant for peo­ple to know this as it is a com­pletely in­de­pen­dent body formed fol­low­ing the water re­form an­nounce­ment by the Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment in April. A to­tal of 1.05 mil­lion homes on pub­lic water mains will re­ceive me­ters at a rate of 27,000 per month. The bal­ance of homes which brings the to­tal amount to 1.35 mil­lion will not re­ceive me­ters straight away as they are ei­ther apart­ments or in shared schemes that are not in scope for it just yet.'

While th­ese re­main­ing prop­er­ties won't re­ceive me­ters just yet they will even­tu­ally and in the mean time will be obliged to pay a water charge set by the Com­mis­sion for En­ergy Reg­u­la­tion that will cor­re­late with the fees as set out for the over­all pub­lic.

‘ The reg­u­la­tor will set the tar­iff and it is ex­pected that con­sul­ta­tion on this will com­mence to­wards the end of 2013,' added the spokesman.

The CER will be re­spon­si­ble for set­ting the rates for water charges and this has yet to oc­cur.

‘If your home is in a group water scheme or you have a pri­vate well or sep­tic tank then you won't be a cus­tomer of Ir­ish Water and won't pay the charges,' said the spokesman.

It is en­vis­aged that water ser­vices will be­come like other util­i­ties like elec­tric­ity and gas in the way it is me­tered and billed.

While many might be per­turbed by the no­tion of th­ese new charges the one pos­i­tive that must be noted is the 2,000 jobs they will cre­ate over the next few years.

In the mean­time lo­cal au­thor­i­ties which cur­rently have re­spon­si­bil­ity for water ser­vices in each county will have a small bit of work to carry out to fa­cil­i­tate Ir­ish Water.

Di­rec­tor of Water & En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices Bryan Doyle, pic­tured left, ex­plained that Wicklow County Coun­cil will soon com­mence sur­vey work.

‘Wicklow County Coun­cil will be con­duct­ing a coun­ty­wide sur­vey com­menc­ing in spring 2013 vis-à-vis ex­am­in­ing ex­ist­ing lo­ca­tions of stop­cocks and where newer houses are con­cerned­me­ter boxes. All this data will be pro­cessed by the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and made avail­able to Ir­ish Water. Af­ter that it will be the job of Ir­ish Water to im­ple­ment the pro­gramme.'

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