Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins has asked Environment Minister Phil Hogan if households will be given the option of getting approved water meters installed themselves, instead of paying the exorbitant fee of €800 over 20 years.
Deputy Collins is asking Minister Hogan to clarify if newer homes that already have water meters fitted as standard will also be subject to the €40 annual charge.
Deputy Collins commented, “Fine Gael and Labour are applauding themselves for not introducing an upfront charge of around €300 for water meter installation. Instead, households will have to pay €40 a year over 20 years for their meters – that’s before they pay a cent for their water use. How can the Government suggest that meter bill of nearly €800 is an improvement on the original figure of €300?
“The suppliers themselves cannot understand how meters and installation will cost this much. One major supplier told the Irish Times that the meter itself and the work to install it could be done privately for less than €300. All of the hardware required for installation costs less then €100.
“I am asking Minister Hogan to clarify urgently if households will be given the choice to have standard, approved meters fitted themselves instead of paying a fee of €40 a year amounting to an overall bill of €800. Thousands of newly built homes already have meters fitted as standard – will they be exempt from the €40 annual fee?
“Minister Hogan has given no indication whatsoever of how these charges will be implemented in a fair way, taking into consideration people’s ability to pay. Families across the country who are already to the pin of their collar are now extremely worried about how they will cope with water bills on top of everything else. The notion of asking them to pay an exorbitant €800 for water meters so that they can be charged for their water use is ridiculous.
“Minister Hogan’s failure to communicate with the public and listen to their very valid concerns has failed him in the past. He must be fair, honest and upfront with households on this occasion.”