First of more than one million water metres to be installed next month

Work on the installation of 1.05m water meters in homes across Ireland is set to begin next month.

Irish Water announced yesterday that the first water meters will be fitted in households in the Co Kildare towns of Maynooth, Leixlip and Celbridge over the next few weeks.

In September, the installation scheme will extend to homes in Co Meath and Co Wexford as well as Tralee, Co Kerry, while water meters will be fitted in parts of Co Limerick, Co Mayo, Fingal County and Dublin city in October.

Irish Water — the new subsidiary of Bord Gáis established to oversee the introduction of a water-metering system in the Republic — estimates that 27,000 meters will be installed every month between next month and the end of 2016.

Households will receive notification from Irish Water two weeks in advance of the planned installation of a water meter for their residence, with a follow-up notice 48 hours before the fitting of the equipment.

The meters will be installed outside the homeowner’s property and Irish Water staff will not need to come into a home, apart from checking the water supply on completion of the job.

However, the household water supply will be disrupted for periods of up to two hours to facilitate installation of the meter.

The digital meters — which are fitted with tamper-proof technology — can be read remotely by Irish Water for billing purposes.

Although somewhat cumbersome, householders will be able to monitor their usage by accessing the meter outside their home.

Batteries for the meters will need to be replaced on average every 15 years.

Two-person installation teams will fit between five and seven meters a day on average and will carry out work between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan confirmed earlier this week that charging for water will begin in Oct 2014 with the first bills being issued from Jan 2015.

He also signalled that the Government will sanction a “first free fix” scheme to cover the cost of any leaks discovered between the meter and a householder’s property.

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