Children’s water allowance likely to be reduced

A range of domestic water charges for homeowners coming into effect in a little over eight weeks’ time will be announced tomorrow by the energy regulator.

However, the proposed free water allowance for children of 38,000 litres per child may be revised downwards after suggestions from Irish Water.

The average cost per household, estimated costs for non-metered homes and waivers for people with medical conditions, will be among the plans announced tomorrow.

The plans will also address whether certain households will have to pay charges if the water coming into their properties is not fit for consumption.

Irish Water’s proposals on charges have been considered by the commission on energy regulation for a number of weeks. The regulator’s draft charges are now being released for public consultation.

Department of Environment sources say a “substantial document” on the proposed charges, heavy on detail, will be released.

The average charge per household, as already signalled by the Government, is expected to be €240.

A free allowance will also be granted to homes, which is expected to be 30,000 litres per property.

However, a previously suggested free allowance of 38,000 litres per child is expected to be revised downwards. This emerged during an Oireachtas Environment Committee meeting with the regulator last month, where officials said that Irish Water had suggested so after the company received provisional usage data from homes with recently installed metres.

Paul McGowan, CER Commissioner, said that Irish Water did not feel the allowance “accurately represents” the usage of a child.

The Government have already said there will be no flat charge for households.

But the regulator is also expected to announce whether or not there will be a fixed charge for those with more than one property.

Charges for non-metered households will also be proposed by the regulator.

Despite the fact that nearly 30,000 a meters a month are being installed, it is estimated that only a quarter to one third of houses in the country will actually have a meter in place when charging begins in October.

Irish Water will issue letters to households in September in order to identify what free entitlements occupants can claim.


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