Water charges cap could be extended

Water charges cap could be extended

It is reported today that the term of the fixed rate on water charges could be extended.

Reports this morning claim the Government is looking at the possibility to allow for more meters to be installed, and to allow people get used to controlling their usage.

Currently, the fixed rate - called an equivalent assessed charge, which varies by how many people occupy the premises - is due to last nine months to the middle of next year. It also applies to homes without a meter.

It is understood an extension is being seriously considered, although it is not yet known how long it could be.

Fine Gael TD Pat Breen said he'd be in favour of extending the fixed rate by two years when asked directly by reporters this morning.

"I think people need some time to adjust to the whole thing," he said. "Obviously, it has been a disaster, there's no doubt about that - but I think the Government will deal with it."

Meanwhile, the Environment Minister Alan Kelly says he doesn't believe second call out charges by Irish Water should exceed €188.

The utility has pledged to fix the first leak for free, but details have yet to be announced about how it plans to deal with subsequent leaks.

In the Dáil last night, Minister Alan Kelly said that the reported cost of more than €188 is too high.

"There were reports at the weekend of in excess of €188 [in] charges for a second callout, after the people have had their first leak fixed for free under Irish Water first-fix policy," he said.

"I'd like to express a personal view here that I believe that this is too expensive … but this has not been finalised and will be subject to approval, as everyone knows, by the CER."

Minister Kelly is due to meet Irish Water's Chief Executive John Tierney this morning.


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