The Programme for Government sets out a commitment to the introduction of water charges based on usage above a free allowance. The Government considers that charging based on usage is the fairest way to charge for water and it has, therefore, decided that water meters should be installed in households connected to public water supplies. The Water Services Act 2013 provided for the establishment of Irish Water as an independent subsidiary within the Bord Gáis Éireann Group and assigned the necessary powers to allow Irish Water to undertake the metering programme.
It was always anticipated that in the course of installing meters, pre-existing leaks and other latent defects due to the age or condition of the water pipes would be discovered. Accordingly, where a leak occurs, it is not necessarily the case that it was caused by Irish Water’s contractors. Irish Water has confirmed to my Department that the company investigated the issue at question in consultation with the householder and it has been concluded that the cause of the leak is not in any way related to the meter installation. This information has been previously communicated to the householder following the investigations that took place.
The Government has decided to introduce a “first fix free policy” to assist householders who may have issues with leaks on their property. Under this scheme, Irish Water will deliver a scheme entitling every household to a free fix of the first leak on a customer’s water supply pipe . Details of the scheme will be announced by Irish Water shortly.
It should also be noted that Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. It may be contacted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 1890 278 278.