Thursday, 14 November 2019

Ceisteanna (191)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

191. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the additional resources he has given to Irish Water to reduce connection waiting times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47027/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In accordance with the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 Irish Water collects charges from customers for providing service connections to premises. The charging regime for the provision of connections is determined by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) acting in accordance with that Act. The CRU is required to perform its functions in a manner that best serves the interests of customers of Irish Water.

On this basis, 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 the 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 -

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

The CRU decision details the reasoning for the charging regime and sets out further actions that the CRU has directed must be taken by Irish Water in response to stakeholder concerns, which include addressing the waiting times faced by customers seeking to obtain a connection quotation.

The statutory functions in relation to this matter have been assigned to Irish Water and the CRU, as outlined above, and I, as Minister do not have any role in determining connection charging policy.

On the broader issue of resources, the Irish Water Strategic Funding Plan 2019-2024, which I approved in November 2018 following its consideration by Government, sets out Irish Water’s multi-annual strategic business plan funding requirement of €11bn to 2024, comprised of a €6.1bn investment in infrastructure and assets and €4.9bn in operating costs. This significant multi-billion euro investment Plan will support the continued operation, repair and upgrading of the country’s water and wastewater infrastructure to support social and economic development across the State and protection of the water environment.

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.