Northern Ireland Water is to stop installing water meters in homes until legislation is brought forward at Stormont.
Regulations are to be introduced at the Assembly as quickly as possible to formalise the new arrangements.
Installers for the government-owned company have been intimidated in the past by communities opposed to water charging.
Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said: "In the current financial climate, the continued waste of public money to install meters which will not be used cannot continue.
"Regulations are currently being drafted and consultation on these is legally required. Meanwhile, I have instructed NI Water to cease this work immediately."
Regulations will be brought to the Assembly after the summer break.