Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (172)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

172. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he is confident that persons who will be paying for water will have full access to be able to either directly, or through independent verification, access the readings on their new water meters to ascertain their usage and to be able to verify faults; if no such access exists, if he will confirm that only Irish Water and their agents will have sole access to this information; if this represents a potential problem for dispute resolution in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45426/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Water Services Act 2013 provides for the establishment of Irish Water as an independent subsidiary within the Bord Gáis Éireann Group and assigns the necessary powers to allow Irish Water to undertake the water metering programme. Water meters used for domestic billing must comply with the EU Measuring Instrument Directive which sets standards of accuracy. This Directive is implemented in Ireland by the Legal Metrology (European Conformity Assessment of Measuring Instruments) Regulations 2007. The Legal Metrology Service of the National Standards Authority of Ireland is the statutory body responsible for regulating and supervising weights and measures, including meters, in Ireland. Customers will be able to access to their water meters.

The Government has decided to assign responsibility for the economic regulation of the water sector, including the setting of charges, to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER).  The primary role of CER will be to protect the interests of customers and to ensure a consistent and appropriate level of service is provided to them. It is envisaged that, as part of its customer protection role, the CER will establish a dispute resolution service for customers of Irish Water. This approach is in line with the services CER already provide for customers in the energy sector.