Water protesters slam plans to introduce excess usage charges

Irish Water has insisted it will be able to tell who is to blame for waste

Water protesters are warning that plans to introduce charges for excess use will face mass opposition.

Plans are in place to introduce the charges from next January – although bills will not be issued until July 1st 2018 at the earliest.

The rules and processes relating to excess use will be determined by the Housing Minister – with a public consultation to be carried out to determine what constitutes excess usage.

Water protesters have warned that many homes do not have a water meter installed, meaning Irish Water will not know who to charge for excessive use.

On Newstalk Breakfast, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said it'll be impossible to tell who's to blame for waste:

“Not everybody by a long shot has a meter; so that begs the question how are they going to detect who are the water wasters?

“It is individuals they are going after rather than going after the massive leakages that are consistently happening throughout the country.”

However on The Pat Kenny Show, Irish Water MD Jerry Grant claimed that will not be a problem:

“The reality is the meter tells you what the demand is and you can follow it up with the householder straight away,” he said.

“Where there isn’t a meter we have other means of doing it.

“They are more cumbersome and they are more challenging but we will be tracking and tracing and finding excess flows.”

Under the Water Services Act 2017 excess usage is defined as above 213,000 litres per household per year.

Under the legislation, houses with more than four people ordinarily resident are provided with an additional 25,000 litres a year for every additional person.

Irish water will also charge for services including connection services, a special meter reading, priced at €17, or a meter testing for €100.

On Friday, Solidarity TD Paul Murphy claimed the excess use charges "will face mass opposition from people"

Deputy Smith said the plans are likely to reignite the anger of the anti-water charges movement:

“There is going to be a huge controversy about this again,” she said. “And I have no doubt whatsoever that this will be another series of politically toxic responses to it once they start issuing bills again.

“It is ridiculous situation and they left it completely and deliberately ambiguous.”

Additional reporting Jack Quann ...