Under the Water Services (No 2) Act 2013, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) approves Irish Water’s Water Charges Plan, which sets out water services charges with regard to new connections, special meter reads, meter testing, and charges for provision of water and wastewater services to domestic and non-domestic customers.
- In approving the Water Charges Plan, the CRU must consider Irish Water’s most recent investment plan and the costs Irish Water is likely to accrue over the period of the Water Charges Plan.
- The CRU must also ensure that charges applied are in line with the revenue allowed under Irish Water’s revenue controls.
- The CRU reviews charges applied for water services, including supply of drinking water, the treatment and disposal of waste water, and the treatment and disposal of trade effluent.
Business (or ‘non-domestic’ and ‘mixed-use’) customers of Irish Water continue to pay charges for water, wastewater and trade effluent services. As part of the Government’s reform of Ireland’s water and wastewater services, Irish Water has been responsible for the charging of business customers since 1st January 2014. Charges for business and mixed-use customers were previously determined and charged by 34 local authorities and 10 town councils. This resulted in a wide range of pricing levels, categories, methodologies, and billing arrangements. At present over 500 separate charges exist for business customers across Ireland.
- As per the CRU’s direction, Irish Water has continued to charge business customers on the same basis as determined under relevant Government policy and applied by local authorities as of 31st of December 2013 until a review could be undertaken.
- This includes ‘mixed-use’ charging arrangements for customers who use water services for both household and business purposes on the same supply.
- The CRU and Irish Water have agreed a plan to establish a Non-Domestic Tariff Framework over the next few years, which will set out how much business and mixed-use customers will be charged for water and wastewater services in the future.
- This framework aims to establish a harmonised approach to charging for water and wastewater services provided by Irish Water, which will enhance transparency, simplicity and equity for its customers.