Thursday 27 October 2016

First bills for water due to arrive today

Just as the first water bills are being delivered to Irish homes today, Irish Water has asked around 11,000 customers who submitted payment details in writing or over the phone to resubmit their information due to data protection issues.

Last night a spokeswoman explained that the company had to "destroy recordings of telephone registrations that included both PPSN and payment details for our customers as part of our process to fully remove all PPSN numbers from our records".


The issue affects some 9,000 customers.

A further 2,000 customers who submitted payment details in writing have also been asked to do so again when quality assurance checks indicated Irish Water staff may not have recorded their payment details correctly.

The company was forced into a U-turn after initially collecting PPSN numbers as part of the registration process. But Environment Minister Alan Kelly asked Irish Water to delete these details last November following a public outcry.

Meanwhile, the first batch of bills will be arriving in households this week.

The controversial utility company has boosted its customer service staff to 750 people to deal with queries from some 1.7m homes who will receive a bill over the next eight weeks.

According to Irish Water more than a million people have now registered with the company - around 500,000 people have yet to do so.

The bills are being sent out as campaigners against the water charges continue to encourage householders not to pay.

Socialist TD Paul Murphy claimed there won't be any penalties until July 2016 for people who "boycott the bills".

"If there is a big movement against this now, any government elected in 2016 will be forced to abolish it," he said.

Single adult homes are to be billed €160 for the year, while two adult homes will be billed €260.


The bills are quarterly so the first ones through the door - for the period up to March 31 - will be for €40 and €65 respectively, depending on the number of people in the household.

Those residents who already have meters will have lower bills if they have been conservative with their water usage.

"We expect to face challenges," said Irish Water spokeswoman Elizabeth Arnett admitted, "particularly, for example, when we have incomplete customer information or unregistered customers."

"It's possible that the details we have may not be 100pc correct ... our contact centre staff are ready to correct any data inaccuracies quickly", she added.


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