Irish Water: 45% fall in revenue from billing

Big drop in number of paying customers amid uncertainty about utility's future

Money collected by Irish Water from domestic billing has dropped by nearly 50% amid continued uncertainty about the utility’s future.

Figures for the fifth billing cycle, which covered services for the first three months of 2016, showed revenue fell to €18.3m - down from €33.4m in the previous quarter.

The bills were sent out in April and May, the period during which a deal to postpone the charges was thrashed out.

The nine-month suspension of domestic billing was confirmed in the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil minority government agreement published on May 3rd.

In a statement, Irish Water said that 14,000 customers started paying for the first time between January and March.

In total, 989,000 (65%) of customers paid some or all of their domestic water charges over the first five bill cycles, compared to 975,000 at the end of the fourth billing cycle.

The utility warned that domestic customers “remain liable for balances” due on any bills issued to date.

“Irish Water continues to accept payment and to deal with any billing queries in relation thereto,” it said.

An expert commission set up to review  Irish Water is expected to issue a final recommendation on its future next year.