Dublin, Ireland — (METERING.COM) — April 18, 2012
– There will be no up-front charge to consumers for Ireland’s water metering program, minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, has announced.
Presenting plans for reforming Ireland’s water services, Hogan also announced the establishment of a new public water utility, Irish Water as an independent state owned subsidiary of Bord Gais Eireann. Irish Water will take over the water services functions from the 34 local authorities.
Explaining the decision, Hogan said: “The overarching objective of the water reform program is to put in place structures and funding arrangements that will ensure we have a world class water and waste water infrastructure that meets all environmental and public health standards.”
Over the next twenty years, global demand for water is expected to be forty percent higher than today and Ireland’s water resources are seen as playing a vital role in enhancing the country’s competitiveness and supporting water dependent sectors critical to economic recovery.
Among the envisaged outcomes of the reform are the development of a sustainable funding model to meet the ongoing operational and capital costs, which currently amount to about €1.2 billion per annum, and reduced levels of leakage, which at more than 40 percent in Ireland are well above international standards.
In addition they should support the development of strategically important national water services projects, the exploitation of the full potential for industry standard IT systems for management of water services, and the introduction of independent economic regulation of the sector.
Existing capabilities within BGE that can be quickly deployed to assist in the establishment and operation of Irish Water include customer relations, network management, metering and utility operation.
The issue of water meter costs has been attracting interest since reports started circulating recently that consumers would be required to pay for their water meters by way of a monthly levy, with figures quoted of around €39 per annum over 20 years, or a total of €780.
According to minister Hogan, the regulator will ultimately decide on the funding model for the water meters.
Ireland’s government decided in January to embark on a universal water metering rollout and plans to deploy just over 1 million meters starting later this year. Water use based charges will be introduced in early 2014.