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Water charges

Introduction

A new system of domestic water charges (pdf) has been introduced for homes that are connected to a public water supply or to public wastewater services. Irish Water, the new national water services authority, will administer the charges. The first quarterly bills for domestic water will issue from January 2015 in respect of the period October to December 2014.

Water services allowances are being provided for every household and for every child for whom Child Benefit is being paid. You need to register with Irish Water to claim these allowances.

Irish Water is currently sending an application pack to every home in the State, asking people to indicate which (if any) public water services they have, and to confirm their household details, by 31 October 2014 in order to get the appropriate free allowances.

Standard rates of water usage have been calculated for different sizes of household. If you do not have a water meter installed, you will be charged based on an assessment of consumption. The assessed charge is based on an assessment of water consumption in a household, dependent on the number of occupants. See ‘How charges are calculated’ below for more details.

There is no change at present in the charging system for people on group water schemes or for commercial users.

Further information is available from Irish Water, from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, and from the Commission for Energy Regulation.

You can also read these frequently asked questions about water charges.

Rules

Who is liable to pay?

The occupier of the property that gets water and/or wastewater services from Irish Water will be liable to pay domestic water charges under the new system. If you own a property, you will be presumed to be the occupier, unless it is proven otherwise.

If your water comes from a private well or a group water scheme and you have a private wastewater treatment system (such as a septic tank) you will not be regarded as a customer of Irish Water and will not have to pay the new domestic water charges.

The following table shows which types of system will and will not be subject to the new domestic water charges:

Water supplier Wastewater Customer of Irish Water?
Public mains Public sewer Yes
Public mains Own treatment (septic tank or wastewater treatment system) Yes
Group water scheme Public sewer Yes
Group water scheme Own treatment No
Private well Public sewer Yes
Private well Own treatment No

How charges are calculated

Irish Water is installing water meters at present. Your meter will measure the amount of water supplied to your home. The amount of wastewater discharged is assumed to be the same as the amount of water drawn from the supply.

In general, your quarterly bill will be based on your metered usage, less the relevant water services allowances for your household type. If you don’t have a meter, your bill will be based on assessed charges.

Assessed charges are calculated on the basis of a single-adult household using 66,000 litres of water per year. Another 21,000 litres is calculated for each additional person in the household – adult or child. There are water services allowances for each household and for each child – see ‘Water services allowances’ below.

Capping of charges

Even if you have a meter, the amount of the bill will be capped at the assessed charge for your household type (less the relevant allowances) for the first 3 full quarters of metering (9 months).

This means that you will not be billed for any more than this assessed amount, even if your metered usage is more than the standard usage for your household size in the first 3 full quarters after the meter is installed.

The timing of this period of capped charges depends on the installation date of your meter, as follows:

If you already had a water meter on 1 October 2014 it will record your actual water usage from October 2014 onwards

  • If your metered usage in any of the 3 quarters from October 2014 to end June 2015 is above the standard level for your household type, your bill will be capped at the assessed charges, less the relevant allowances
  • This means that your bills in January, April and July 2015 will be no higher than the standard assessed charges calculated for your household size, less allowances
  • If your usage for any quarter in these 9 months is lower than the standard level for your household type, your bill for that quarter will be based on your actual metered usage

If your meter is installed during October-December 2014, your first bill in January 2015 will be based on assessed charges, as the meter will not have a full record of your usage for October-December 2014.

  • If your metered usage in any of the 3 quarters from January 2015 to end September 2015 is above the standard level for your household type, your bill for that quarter will be capped at the assessed charges, less the relevant allowances
  • This means that the bills in April, July and October 2015 will be no higher than the standard assessed charges calculated for your household size, less allowances
  • If your usage for any quarter in these 9 months is lower than the standard level for your household type, your bill for that quarter will be based on your actual metered usage

Rebate: As your January bill was based on assessed usage, this will be reviewed if your metered usage for the next 6 months is lower than the standard for your household type. You will get a rebate of any difference between your average usage over these 6 months and the standard assessed usage that you paid for in your January bill.

As more meters are installed, people will continue to be billed on assessed charges until the first full quarter of usage has been recorded on the meter.

  • After the meter has been installed, your charges will be capped for the first 3 full quarters of metering, as above
  • You will get a rebate if your average usage after 2 full quarters of metering turns out to be lower than the standard

If you don’t have a water meter installed, you will continue to be billed on assessed charges.

If you need to use extra water because of a medical condition (pdf), your charges will stay capped at the assessed level.

If your water quality is poor and there is a Boil Notice or Drinking Water Restriction Notice in effect for more than 24 hours, you will get a 100% discount on the water supply element of your charge until the notice is lifted.

There is a fixed minimum charge for dwellings that are not permanently occupied, such as holiday homes, whether or not there is a meter.

Water services allowances

You can get a free allowance of 30,000 litres of water per service per household and 21,000 litres per child per service each year. The household water allowance is for your principal private residence – your main home. The children’s water allowance is for each child for whom you are getting Child Benefit.

If you don’t register your household details with Irish Water and claim your free allowance(s), you will be charged the assessed rate for a 2-person household with no free allowances.

You will only get the free allowances if you pay your bills in a timely manner. If you don’t pay your bills, Irish Water can reduce your water supply. However, you will not be cut off completely.

You need to provide the Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) of one adult in the household to claim the household water allowance. You need to provide the PPSN of each child for whom you are claiming a children’s water allowance. Irish Water has published information on how it uses your PPSN.

Rates

Water charge rates will be fixed for 2015 and 2016 (pdf).

As noted above, in general, your quarterly bill will be based on your metered usage, less the relevant free allowances for your household type. However, for the first 3 full quarters of metering, the amount of the bill will be capped at the assessed charge for your household type, less the relevant allowances.

Where assessed charges are applied, they are based on the number of people – adults and children – in the household, less any free allowances. See tables below.

The unoccupied dwelling charge for second homes is fixed at €62.50 per service per year– a total of €125 for a house using both public water supply and public wastewater services.

If you are on the Household Benefits Package, or the Fuel Allowance, you will get a separate Water Support payment of €100 per year to help with water costs.

Tax relief at 20% will be provided on water charges, up to a maximum of €500 per year, paid in arrears.

Irish Water has published detailed information on the water charge rates, including a calculator.

Here we summarise the assessed charges and free allowances for a sample of household types. The tables below show the maximum amount of the first quarterly bill that these sample households will get in January 2015.

If you have both services

If your household uses the public water supply and the public wastewater service, the rate is €4.88 per 1,000 litres – 1 cubic metre.

  • Single-adult household: With an assessed usage of 66,000 litres per year, the basic annual charge for a single-adult household is €322.08 per year or €80.52 per quarter. The household water services allowance is 30,000 litres per year. This is worth €146.40 per year or €36.60 per quarter and it reduces the basic charge of €322.08 to €175.68 per year/€43.92 per quarter for a single-adult household.
  • Two-adult household: With another 21,000 litres assessed for each additional person, the basic charge for each extra person is €102.48 per year or €25.62 per quarter. The basic charge for a 2-adult household will be €424.56 per year/ €106.14 per quarter. The 30,000-litre household allowance of €146.40 reduces this to €278.16 per year/€69.54 per quarter.
  • Children: The children’s water services allowance has been set at €102.48 per year, so there will be no extra charge for water for children if you have claimed this allowance.

Sample assessed charges for households using both water services

People in household Basic charge per year Free allowances per year Charge per year, after allowances Quarterly bill, after allowances
1 adult €322.08 €146.40 €175.68 €43.92
2 adults €424.56 €146.40 €278.16 €69.54
1 adult, 1 child €424.56 €248.88 €175.68 €43.92
2 adults, 1 child €527.04 €248.88 €278.16 €69.54
2 adults, 2 children €629.52 €351.36 €278.16 €69.54

If you have a single service

If your household only uses one service - public water supply or public wastewater services, the rate is €2.44 per 1,000 litres.

  • Single-adult household: With an assessed usage of 66,000 litres per year, the basic charge for a single-adult household is €161.04 per year. The household allowance of 30,000 worth €73.20 per year and it reduces the basic charge of €161.04 to €87.84 per year/€21.96 per quarter
  • Two-person household: With another 21,000 litres assessed for each additional person in the household, the basic charge for each extra person is €51.24 per year or €12.81 per quarter. The total basic charge for a 2-adult household will be €212.28 per year/ €53.07 per quarter. The 30,000 litre household allowance of €73.20 reduces this to €139.08 per year/ €34.77 per quarter.
  • Children: The children’s water services allowance of 21,000 litres is worth €51.24 per child per year for a single-service household. Again, there will be no extra charge for water for children if you have claimed this allowance.

Sample assessed charges for households using a single water service

People in household Basic charge per year Free allowances per year Charge per year, after allowances Quarterly bill, after allowances
1 adult €161.04 €73.20 €87.84 €21.96
2 adults €212.28 €73.20 €139.08 €34.77
1 adult, 1 child €212.28 €124.44 €87.84 €21.96
2 adults, 1 child €263.52 €124.44 €139.08 €34.77
2 adults, 2 children €314.76 €175.68 €139.08 €34.77

How to apply

You can apply in one of three ways by 31 October 2014:

  • Online: www.water.ie/apply
  • By phone: LoCall 1890 448 448 or +353 1 707 2824, 8am-8pm, 7 days a week
  • By post: Complete the application form and return it in the prepaid envelope provided

For all other queries to Irish Water:

  • Website: www.water.ie
  • Phone: LoCall 1890 278 278 or +353 1 707 2828, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Minicom: 1890 378 378 (for hearing-impaired customers with their own minicom equipment)
Page updated: 17 October 2014

Language

Gaeilge

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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.