Farmers with fragmented holdings will be hit hardest by rising Irish Water charges next year, according to Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Rural Development chairman Tim Farrell, who predicts some bills will rise as much as 78%.
The new charges won’t come into effect until May, 2020, but Irish Water is communicating the details to business customers currently.
All customers will transition to a new national set of charges, replacing the current 44 different charging regimes across the country with different price structures, and over 500 different price levels.
The new tariff structure and charges will apply to business customers and mixed use customers (whose premises are used for both business and domestic purposes).
Irish Water expects that 83% of customers will see their annual bill increase by less than €250, stay the same, or decrease.
Customers can use an online business tariff calculator (water.ie/for-business/billing-explained/business-tariff-calculator/) to get an idea of what future bills might be.
Customers whose annual bill increases by between €250 and €750 will move to the new charges over a three-year period. Customers facing bill increases of €750 or greater will benefit from a 10% cap to their annual bill over three years.
ICSA’s Tim Farrell says the fixed base charge for every connection, plus payment for water used, will hit farmers with multiple connections. “ICSA sees no reason why farmers should be expected pay charges on top of charges, particularly when those in urban areas have point blank refused to pay for water.”