Monitoring and reporting on Irish Water’s performance is an important part of the CRU’s work. The CRU monitor Irish Water to ensure that Irish Water uses the revenue it receives (as allowed by the CRU) in the best interests of customers and to ensure Irish Water is effective and efficient in achieving its outlined objectives.

The CRU monitors Irish Water’s performance and behaviour in areas such as; customer service, quality of the water services provided, and in the delivery of its Capital Investment Plan. The CRU requests that Irish Water report to it on a regular basis with various information and data.  This information allows us to analyse and monitor the company’s performance over time and to compare Irish Water’s performance to other utilities both in Ireland and in other jurisdictions (a process known as ‘benchmarking’). The CRU also monitors Irish Water through examining complaints received from Irish Water’s customers.

Irish Water Performance Assessment

In order to ensure that Irish Water uses the revenue it receives in the best interests of customers, the CRU developed an assessment framework for monitoring Irish Water’s performance and progress across a wide range of customer centred metrics.

These metrics co-exist alongside other reporting requirements, such as those in the CRU Irish Water Customer Handbook, to ensure Irish Water is providing appropriate service to customers.

Following public consultation, the CRU in November 2016, published its decision on the key performance indicators or metrics to be used in Irish Water’s Performance Assessment which are categorised under the following headings:

  • Customer Service
  • Environmental Performance
  • Water Supply – Quality of Service
  • Security of Water Supply
  • Sewerage Service

Irish Water's Performance Assessment Report, which is published approximately every six months, allows the CRU to evaluate the utility’s performance over time and also ensure that transparent data on the utility’s performance becomes available to customers.

Further information on Irish Water’s Performance Assessment can be found in the publications section of our website.

Irish Water Customer Handbooks

The Irish Water Customer Handbooks were developed by the CRU. There are two handbooks; one for domestic customers and one for non-domestic (business) customers. The handbooks detail the required levels of customer service and customer protection measures that Irish Water must include in its various codes of practice.

Domestic Customer Handbook

The areas covered in the Domestic Customer Handbook include Codes of Practice on; Customer Communications, Metering, Billing, Vulnerable Customers, Customer Complaints, and Network Operations.

In addition, the domestic customer handbook requires Irish Water to establish a Customer Charter for domestic customers and sets out Irish Water’s minimum customer service commitments. Where Irish Water fails to meet a commitment, a customer will be entitled to a charter payment.

The Handbook’s Code of Practice for Vulnerable Customers is aimed at protecting those who are critically dependent on water for their medical needs or those who may require additional support communicating with or receiving services from Irish Water.

Non-Domestic Customer Handbook

The Non-Domestic Customer Handbook is written by the CRU and sets out the required levels of customer service and customer protection measures that Irish Water must provide to its non-domestic customers and which must also must be reflected in Irish Water’s Business Codes of Practice. This handbook contains Codes of Practice for Communications, Metering, Billing, Network Operations and Complaint Handling for business customers.

Complaints

Both handbooks contain a Code of Practice on Complaint Handling. This sets out Irish Water's requirements in terms of providing an easy to use complaints service for customers should they experience difficulties with Irish Water. For unresolved complaints Irish Water is required to refer customers to the CRU's dedicated complaints team.

The CRU has a statutory responsibility to provide a complaints resolution service to Irish Water customers who have an unresolved dispute with Irish Water. For further information on this service please see the complaints section of our website by clicking here.

The CRU regularly engage with Irish Water and monitors the company’s implementation of the customer handbook requirements. Both the Domestic and Non-Domestic Handbooks are evolving documents and kept under review by the CRU to ensure they remain relevant, are fit for purpose and the service standards are appropriate for customers.

Irish Water is required to prepare the various Codes of Practice (as outlined above) which must at minimum reflect the customer service requirements set out in each handbook. Irish Water must submit each Code of Practice for approval by the CRU.

To view the CRU Irish Water Handbooks, please click here.

Irish Water's Codes of Practice can be found on Irish Water's website, www.water.ie.

Irish Water’s Delivery of Capital Investment

The CRU monitors Irish Water’s delivery of its Capital Investment Plan, which sets out what Irish Water plans to deliver for the revenue allowed to it by the CRU over a certain period of time. Irish Water must then report on what it has delivered for the revenue allowed by the CRU. Where Irish Water does not deliver outputs and outcomes as planned, the CRU may disallow revenue in the next revenue control period.

The CRU published a report on Irish Water's Capital Investment Outputs for the IRC1 period. This report states that, among other things, Irish Water delivered the following in the period to end 2016:

  • Drinking water quality: Removed Boil Water Notices that had been in place at the start of 2014 for more than 200 days for over 20,000 people.
  • First Fix leak repair scheme: Reduced leakage through the First Fix Free Scheme, mains replacement and pressure management activities.
  • Water mains: Over 850km of new or renewed water mains.
  • Wastewater treatment plants: 29 new and 36 upgraded wastewater treatment plants.

In addition to the projects that were completed by the end of 2016, Irish Water has progressed over 200 water and wastewater projects through various stages of concept, design and construction. These projects have carried through to the current investment plan for the years 2017 to 2021.

In 2018, the CRU aims to publish an information paper establishing an enduring framework for the monitoring of Irish Water’s delivery of its capital investment.

Water Services Innovation Fund

As part of Irish Water’s allowed revenue, the CRU created a €4m Water Services Innovation Fund to allow Irish Water to invest in projects that explore novel technologies and operating arrangements designed to deliver benefits for customers outside of ‘business as usual’ operations.

In order to pursue these projects, Irish Water must apply to the CRU for approval on a case-by-case basis. The CRU reviews the project application to ensure that the project is innovative and that it is designed to further at least one objective set out in the Water Services Innovation Fund Information Paper. These objectives include, among other things, ‘provision of safe, secure, and reliable water services’; ‘enhanced energy savings’; ‘mitigation of negative climate change impacts’; and ‘improved conservation of water resources.’

The Innovation Fund is available to Irish Water through the end of the IRC2 period, after which the CRU will review Irish Water’s application for additional innovation funding as part of the normal revenue review process for the third revenue control period (RC3).

You can read the Water Services Innovation Fund Information Paper and the CRU’s first report on Irish Water’s project activities under the Innovation Fund on the CRU website in the 'Publications' section.