- Non-Domestic Water Charges will now be introduced on 1st May 2021
- New tariffs start date was postponed in March 2020 due to uncertainty for customers affected by Covid-19 pandemic
- New Irish Water tariffs will be simpler, fairer and more transparent for 183,479 non-domestic customers
- Further delays to implementation considered inequitable for nearly half of all customers who will see a decrease in their bills
The CRU has announced Irish Water’s new Non-Domestic Tariffs will apply to all of Irish Water’s non-domestic customers from 1st May 2021.
In March 2020, a decision was made by the CRU, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Irish Water to defer the implementation of the new non-domestic tariff framework for business customers. This was on the basis that changes in bills would happen at a time when there was considerable uncertainty for businesses due to ongoing restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The new tariff framework will now be applied to Irish Water’s customers from 1st May 2021. This means that non-domestic customers will not see any changes to their Irish Water bills until May 2021 or later depending on their billing cycle.
The CRU recognises the challenges that businesses are currently facing and decided on an extended implementation period and advance notice of the tariff changes to allow Irish Water customers to plan accordingly for 2021.
During an engagement process with business representative groups, it was considered vital that advance notice of several months should be given to customers. The CRU felt that any further delays would limit the positive benefit to smaller business customers who will experience a bill decrease under the new arrangements. The new tariffs encourage water conservation and will mean lower bills for many businesses forced to use less water due to COVID-19 restrictions, as the new tariffs will lead to bills that better reflect their reduced water consumption.
Currently, there are over 500 separate charges for the provision of water and wastewater services to non-domestic customers of Irish Water across the country. Similar business customers are charged different rates for the same service depending on where they are located. Under the new Framework, customers will pay a fair share based on how much water they consume or wastewater they discharge under tariffs that will be fixed for three years to provide bill certainty to customers.
Where a customer may be faced with a large bill increase, a three-year transition arrangement will be put in place by Irish Water to assist customers who experience a bill increase above €250 to limit bill increases over that period of time.
Taking into account the limits on bill increases, the impact of the new tariffs in 2021 is as follows:
- 46.4% (85,059 connections) will see bill decreases
- 50.4% (92,511 connections) will see bill increases of less than €250
- 1.6% (2,899 connections) will see bill increases of between €250 – €500
- 1.5% (2,725 connections) will see bill increases of between €500 – €5,000.
- 0.2% (285 connections) will see bill increases greater than €5,000
Commenting on the decision, Laura Brien, CRU Director of Water, said “The CRU recognises the challenges that businesses continue to face and is giving as much advance warning as possible to facilitate business planning. As businesses around the country restart their operations, they should face similar tariffs for water and wastewater based on the real costs of providing those services.
The CRU considers that these new tariffs will bring benefits to customers, as businesses re-open following closures to meet public health guidelines. While some customers will see a bill increase, consideration for those customers who will see a decrease in their bill was also one of the important factors that the CRU, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Irish Water took into consideration.
The implementation of the Framework will introduce more transparent, simple and fair charging for all non-domestic customers across the country. A complex, out-of-date and unfair system of charging will be replaced by a simple, up-to-date and fair system of charging. This will support businesses and should encourage inward investment. Similar customers, in terms of water consumption and/or wastewater discharge will be charged the same amount for using the same service no matter where in Ireland they are located.”