Northern Ireland Water
Northern Ireland Water [NIW] is the Government-owned trading company which provides water and sewerage services. Whilst it presents accounts as if trading as a normal commercial business, the company earns its revenue partly through supply charges levied on non-domestic business customers, but this is alongside an operating subsidy in lieu of domestic charges received from the Department for Infrastructure [DFI].
The DFI operating subsidy in 2017-18 was £290.4m, equivalent to an average of about £400 per household, and other non-trading income of nearly £70m was attributed to NIW. Business customers paid just over £76m in direct charges. Households in England pay water charges to the water authorities which avoid a subsidy through taxation or rates reductions.
The Northern Ireland revenue drawn as a Government operating subsidy is possibly the largest discretionary use of Government revenue by Stormont in favour of reducing costs to households, out-with the normal parity principles.
The statistics used in this table are drawn from the just published Statutory Accounts which differ significantly from the presentation that would be conventional in private sector commercial accounts.
The finances of NIW are heavily influ- enced by the conventions used to decide the level of operating subsidy, the allocation of revenue from customers providing assets for the connection of services and the estimate of the costs of providing for drainage of water from the roads network. These estimates mean that the resulting operating profit figures are partly an outcome of allocations of DFI funding.
The interest charges paid by NIW are a reflection of the large and growing level of borrowing to finance the organisation.