herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Irish Water refusing to reveal its sign-up rates

John Tierney, chief executive of Irish Water. Photo: Tom Burke
John Tierney, chief executive of Irish Water. Photo: Tom Burke

IRISH Water has refused to reveal how many households have registered to be customers of the utility company.

And the semi-state responsible for the country's water network has admitted it only finished issuing two million application packs in the week that water charges have been introduced.

A spokesperson for the company denied that it was refusing to release the figures because just a tiny fraction of people had registered as customers. "It's quite the opposite," she claimed.

The company claimed that it would be "inappropriate" to release the figures because people still had until the end of this month to register.

INCREASE

Householders that fail to register with Irish Water face an annual charge of €424, a significant increase on the €176 starting charge for households.

Irish Water's handling of the registration process stands in contrast to that of the Revenue Commissioners during the introduction of the household charge.

Revenue would provide regular updates on the numbers of homeowners who would registered to pay.

"As Irish Water only finished issuing two million application packs to households this week, and the deadline for return is not until October 31, we would feel it is not appropriate to comment on this now," a statement from the company said.

It also urged anyone who had not received an application pack to contact the company. It began sending out the letters on September 1.

Protesters from the We Won't Pay Campaign were outisde Irish Water HQ yesterday to complain about the charge.

Irish Water has already proved less than transparent in revealing how many people had registered their PPS numbers.

Following requests from the Herald, the company refused to reveal how many PPS numbers that they have received.

"Irish Water will not be sharing details of the number of PPS numbers it has received from customers," a statement said.

Irish Water has said that PPS numbers are required to apply for water services allowances and that the numbers would be used to verify the identities of applicants.

It also requests a copy of the PPS numbers of all children aged 17 or under living in the home.

Among the allowances it said that the numbers would be used to verify household water services allowance, unoccupied dwelling allowance and children's water services allowance.

The Herald revealed yesterday how 90pc of Dublin's 468,000 households had no water meter installed on the day that Irish Water started charging for turning on the taps.

The semi-state company admitted that just over 40,000 households in Dublin have been fitted with meters and could not say when the remainder would be installed.

However, Irish Water maintained yesterday it was on track to have over 1m water meters installed by the end of 2016.

The exact number of meters that are left to be installed in Dublin is unclear, as some private homes and apartments will not receive a meter - such as those off the water mains.

Irish Water could not provide a timetable for when specific estates or areas of Dublin would have meters installed.

hnews@herald.ie

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