The Programme for Government sets out a commitment for the introduction of water charges based on usage above a free allowance, on the basis that this is the fairest way to charge for water. Irish Water is implementing the national domestic water metering programme for households connected to public water supplies. As the metering programme will still be under way when charges are introduced, an appropriate approach to charging customers who are not metered at that stage will be put in place. This will be structured in such a way as to ensure that it represents a reasonable proxy for usage and is fair.
The approach to charging will be outlined by Irish Water in a water charges plan submitted to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) in line with the provisions of the Water Services (No.2 ) Act, 2013. The CER will be responsible for approving the water charges plans and will engage in public consultation on the approach to charges. Their initial consultation will relate to the principles and criteria underlying the structure of domestic tariffs including matters such as the breakdown between fixed and variable elements and the treatment of metered and non-metered customers. A subsequent round of public consultation will relate to the level of proposed charges.