Cost of connecting water supply connection could plummet, says proposal

Cost of connecting water supply connection could plummet, says proposal
Irish Water Headquarters

The cost of connecting new properties to the main water supply could fall significantly in the vast majority of cases if the utilities regulator rubberstamps proposals from Irish Water to overhaul the current charging structure.

The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has published its proposed decision on Irish Water’s Connection Charging Policy, which is open for the next four weeks for comment.

According to Irish Water, if the proposed changes were adopted, 93% of single domestic one-unit properties would see the charge for connection fall below its current average level.

There would also be less to pay in relation to around half of domestic developments of 25 units, those of 200 units, and those involving 500 units, although the corresponding decrease for wastewater connections would be less marked.

Documents supplied to the CRU show that last year, the average water connection cost for a single domestic unit was €4,211 and that if a wastewater connection for the same property was required, the average cost was an additional €5,586.

The highest connection fee applied last year for a single domestic unit was €6,753 and the lowest was €1,853. The highest wastewater connection fee last year was €8,570 and the lowest was €1,651.

Under the Irish Water proposals, water would be connected at a standard charge of €1,935 and the wastewater connection would be €3,701 — a combined amount of €5,636.

Last January the CRU published a consultation paper on Irish Water’s proposed Connection Charging Policy.

According to its ‘Proposed Decision’ document published on Monday evening: “Current connection charging arrangements in Ireland are varied, complex, and the charges differ greatly across the country.

“There are currently 57 different connection charging regimes with over 900 different connection charges, as each local authority had its own method for calculating connection charges, with different cost structures, customer classifications, and bespoke exemptions. Furthermore, there are differences in terms of the level of connection service customers receive from each local authority.

A more standardised approach in terms of connection charges, and the levels of services received for such charges, will benefit customers in terms of transparency, accessibility, simplicity, and equity.

The CRU received submissions from 12 stakeholders, including the Irish Farmers Association, Chambers Ireland, and the Irish Council for Social Housing. It now proposes to back “a national connection charging policy framework with national charges where customers are charged the same regardless of location”.

The review period runs until mid-November and the final charging structure could be approved before the end of the year.

A data set linked to the report showed 20,030 water connection applications last year, 1,005 of which were single unit domestic.

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