14 January 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Irish Water (IW) has submitted proposals to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) for a set of national connection charges and to standardise the scope of work involved in each connection. Today the CRU has opened a public consultation on those proposals.
Currently, new connections to the Irish Water network are charged at the same rates as applied by Local Authorities prior to the establishment of Irish Water. As the 31 Local Authorities – including Cork County Council – each had different charging methods and rates there is a wide variation in connection charges across the country.
At present different levels of connection works are performed depending on the Local Authority area: for example, in some cases the customer may be required to pay the cost of a Road Opening Licence (ROL) or to procure their own contractor to complete the physical connection works. Recognising the shortcomings and inequity of the current arrangements, the CRU requested Irish Water to submit proposals for a new Connection Charging Policy.
Irish Water has now completed this work and is proposing a policy that aims to simplify the current charging arrangements by providing a single national, clear, transparent and equitable connection charging framework. It will:
Set out Standard Connection Charges for the majority of connecting customers;
Charge for connections in a cost-reflective manner, based on service need and not the development floor area of the property; and
Provide an end-to-end connection service to customers in a consistent, safe, and comprehensive manner.
Speaking about the consultation, Irish Water’s Connections and Developer Services Manager Maria O’Dwyer said,
“There are currently 57 different charging regimes in the 31 Local Authorities across the country. All charging regimes have different methods for calculating connection charges, including different structures and customer classifications. This is unfair to customers as homes or businesses a few miles apart can have completely different connection charges and levels of service.”
“Irish Water is proposing new Standard Connection Charges that will reflect the cost of the connection and will ensure the efficient use of the existing infrastructure. Irish Water also wants to ensure that connecting customers are treated fairly and equitably and that the system of charging is easy to understand. ”
The CRU is now consulting on Irish Water’s proposals and is inviting input from the public on the proposals. At the conclusion of the public consultation, the CRU will issue its decision. Until then, the existing connection charges will continue to apply.
More information is available at https://www.cru.ie/document_group/water-connection-charging-policy/Follow TheCork.ie (The Online Newspaper for Cork, Ireland) on social media