Country Clean defends hiking its pay-by-lift prices

Pay-by-lift customers of Country Clean will have to pay considerably more to have their refuse collected after the waste collection company hiked the costs of its pay-by-lift system.

Since yesterday, householders have to pay €12, up from €8 per lift, for the black bin (non-recyclable waste), and €7, up from €4 per lift, for the green bin (recyclables).

Affected customers were notified of the price hike by text over the weekend and were advised to top up by a minimum of €22, up from €20, to ensure no interruptions to service.

The Anti Austerity Alliance TD for Cork North Central, Mick Barry, said the price increase “appear to fly in the face of the announcement by Environment Minister Simon Coveney that bin charges were to be frozen for a 12-month period”.

Mr Barry said Country Clean needed to clarify its position immediately and he called on customers of the company not to hand over money “above and beyond what they have been paying for the last year”.

Country Clean, which provides a service to approximately 60,000 households mainly in Cork City and county, defended the price hikes yesterday, blaming its waiver system.

In a statement, the company said that it had continued to operate a waiver system (for personal hardship cases) at its own expense for five years after taking on local authority customers. However, there has been a reduction on the waiver provided, because, the company said, the “presentation rate of pay-by-lift customers has dropped substantially over time” (not putting out bins as often).

However, if pay-by-lift customers want to avoid the increases, they are “quite welcome to change over to the flat rate system where there is no increase to charges as agreed with the minister”, a spokesperson for Country Clean said.

Country Clean owner Dave O’Regan told the Irish Examiner yesterday that very few of its customers, approximately 1,100 householders, are on its pay-by-lift system.

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