€100 charge to inspect water meter for faults

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has said members of the public could face a €100 service charge if they tell Irish Water there is a problem with their water meter.

The CER yesterday issued the Water Charges Plan 2015, which takes into account the revised water charges announced by the Government last November.

The plan also approves a €100 charge that will be applied to some Irish Water customers who report concerns about their meter readings.

The levy will only be applied if the meter is tested and found to be “accurate to within tolerances”. If it is found that the meter is inaccurate, the fee will not be applied.

Irish Water told the CER it does not know how much a meter testing call-out will cost the company.

“Irish Water have yet to carry out meter-testing in response to a customer request and therefore we do not currently have a robust estimate of the costs involved,” the utility said in its submission. “We expect to collect accurate cost date over the coming months. In the interim, while Irish Water gathers this data a standardised customer charge of €100 is proposed.”

Irish Water said the charge was reasonable based on a review of charges from other utilities.

The only other additional services charge that Irish Water can apply is a €17 fee for a special domestic meter read.

This will apply when a domestic customer requests that a meter read be undertaken outside of the normal meter reading schedule.

The plan approves a charge of €3.70 per 1,000 litres for customers who receive both water and wastewater services from Irish Water, though this will be capped at a maximum charge of €160 per annum for households with one adult or €260 per annum for two or more adults.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power has said the Government has failed to roll out a ‘free first fix’ scheme announced 10 months ago. The scheme will see Irish Water fix faults at no cost to the customer.

Ms Power contacted Dublin City Council and Irish Water on behalf of Dublin householders who were instructed to repair a water leak on their property.

“I was surprised to hear that water staff had dug up the path, spotted the leak, and left it unfixed,” she said. “Once they identified that the problem was within the property boundary, they walked away and told the homeowners they would have to call a private plumber themselves and get it repaired.

“The Minister for Environment must immediately address this issue so more homeowners are not hit with hefty bills for repairing links that the Government said would be the responsibility of Irish Water.”

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