First meters to be installed in July
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.'