Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2948, 2949)

Robert Troy

Question:

2948. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the length of time it is taking Irish Water to process applications for connections. [33936/19]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

2949. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the person or body that approved the new fee structure Irish Water is charging for new connections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33935/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2948 and 2949 together.

The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (as amended) assigns responsibility for the independent economic regulation of the water sector to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). The CRU is required to perform its functions in a manner that best serves the interests of customers of Irish Water.

The Act further provides that Irish Water shall collect charges from customers in receipt of water services provided by it in accordance with a water charges plan, to be approved by the CRU. Section 22(5) of the Act provides that a water charges plan may provide for charges in respect of the provision of services connections to premises.

On this basis, I understand that the CRU, informed by a multi-stage public consultation process, published its Decision Paper on Irish Water’s Proposed Connection Charging Policy on 18 December 2018 and that this policy came into effect on 1 April 2019. The relevant public consultation documentation continues to be publicly available on the CRU’s website and the Decision Paper in particular can be accessed at the following weblink -

https://www.cru.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/CRU18262-CRU-Decision-on-Irish-Waters-Connection-Policy.pdf.

This document details the reasoning behind key aspects of the CRU’s decision and sets out further actions that the CRU has directed must be taken in response to a number of stakeholder concerns, which include addressing the timeframe faced by customers seeking to obtain a connection quotation.

As outlined above, the statutory functions in relation to these matters have been assigned to Irish Water and the CRU and I, as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, do not have any role in determining connection charging policy.

It may also be helpful to note that Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.