By Juno McEnroe
Legislation to refund over €170m in water bills is expected be approved by Cabinet this week before a later Dáil vote which will see monies returned to homeowners in the coming months.
Fianna Fáil has signalled there “should be no controversy” over government proposals to refund bills — as agreed by a cross-party Oireachtas committee earlier this year.
Most homeowners who paid bills — some amounting to over €300 — will get a cheque by the end of this year. Up to €172m will cover payments while another €5m will pay for the scheme.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s spokesman confirmed that refunds would not be based on an application process. Refunds are coming out of existing funds for this year and not from the budget for next year.
The spokesman confirmed the legislation would then be brought before the Dáil after the house returns next week.
A separate decision on what constitutes an excessive usage of water will be decided by the energy regulator.
The Oireachtas committee on water previously recommended excessive levels be set at 1.7 times an average rate of usage, and penalties will be applicable beyond that.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.