herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Brace yourselves - bills are on way

irish water

There have been protests, marches, U-turns and back downs, but the water charges seem here to stay and last week saw the first batch of the 1.5m bills going to households - a delivery that will take weeks.

The bill will look confusing: although it will mention volumes of water and what they cost, you will only be billed for one of two amounts: either €160 or €260 depending on whether you're a one or multi-person household. The bill will be paid quarterly.

Most people will have a passing glance at the actual usage (and cost), but since there's no longer a financial incentive to conserve water, it's academic.

The other complication is the €100 rebate, or Water Conservation Grant (which it isn't), which you are only entitled to if you've already registered with Irish Water (or do so by the ever-extending deadline, currently set at June).

Inexplicably, this grant is not being deducted from the bill - you apply for it separately through the Department of Social Protection which will demand your PPS number and a declaration about your house.

There's no need for this. Tax relief on mortgage interest and health insurance is deducted automatically, so why not this?

You can't even apply for it until the summer and it won't be paid until September - long after you've paid most of the annual bill. And that's without even mentioning the cost of the admin.

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