Labour’s Alan Kelly TD has taken the previous Irish Water plans drawn up by Phil Hogan TD by the scruff of the neck and listened to the concerns expressed by the people with regard to the cost and affordability of water, the potential for privatisation of water and the complex charging system. He has completely reworked the plan and introduced a fairer, more certain and simpler plan. In summary:
- Charges are being capped: €160 for a single adult household (with or without children) and €260 for all other households
- A Water Conversation Grant of 100 euro per household thus reducing the capped rate to €60 for a single adult household and €160 for all other households
- These charges are fixed until the end of 2018
- No PPS numbers will be needed in relation to payment or water conversation grant application
- First bills will issue from April 2015
- Water metering will continue to monitor water consumption and support water leakage detection.
- A variety of payment options are available including a minimum 5 euro payment off bills, paid at the householders convenience
- Water pressure will not be reduced in incidences where householders do not pay their water charges, however, penalties will be applied to the household.
- A first free fix will apply to any leaking pipes within a household’s boundary.
- Irish Water is a publicly owned utility. It can only be privatised by the will of the people though a special referendum
- A new board will be put in place, members of which will be appointed through a public appointment process.
The new plan takes account of concerns relating to affordability, of concerns regarding future payments and charges and concerns regarding the privatisation of Irish Water. The new plan is simple, certain and ensures Irish Water will remain in public ownership unless the people wish to privatise it.
Labour has listened, Labour has delivered!