Saturday 20 January 2018

Irish Water bills to go out, even though 150,000 will be wrong

IRISH Water is planning to issue bills to households, even though scores of thousands will be wrong.

Households will begin receiving bills from the second week in April up until June.

However, the utility said it has to operate on a basis of incomplete information.

This means that more than 150,000 households will receive the default bills even though they are not customers of Irish Water.

The utility's head of communications Elizabeth Arnett said on RTE's Morning Ireland that there had been "some challenges" in setting up the system.

"We will be sending out a bill to the 1.25 million people who are our customers and 150,000 people who have their own water services," she said.

"There has never been a database of people connected to public water services.

"Those people who are not customers of Irish Water should contact us and let us know. It would be great if they could contact us because it would mean they won't receive a bill.

"When it comes to building a new database, a new system for billing, we would accept that there will always be issues with billing and it will take a while for us to work through that and get that right.

"That would be the normal teething problems for a project on this scale."

Irish Water has warned that with such a new billing system, many thousands of people are likely to receive incorrect bills.

The company knows how many people are on boil water notices and so should be entitled to exemptions, but it does not have the names and addresses of the people in affected areas.


It also said that thousands of people live at non-unique addresses where water meters have been installed, but it is difficult to be accurate about how much each individual household should be charged.

Irish Water said it has no choice but to operate on the basis of incomplete information and is urging all those who receive incorrect bills to get in touch as soon as possible.

The regular bills will be capped at €39 for a single adult household and €64 for two or more adults. Ms Arnett added that "while the charge is €260 and €160, the bill you will receive will be just under €65 for a two-adult household with both water and waste water and just under €40 for a single-adult household with both water and waste water services".

She added that meter readings, which will take place ahead of billing, will mean at least a third of households with a meter will pay less than the standard charge.

All those who have not registered with the company are likely to receive a default bill of €64 for the quarter.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly announced yesterday that people will have to register with Irish Water by June 30 in order to qualify for the €100 conservation grant.


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