Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment, Barry Cowen, has called for the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to appear before a special sitting of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment before the end of August to outline the decision making process behind the proposed water charges, which will come into effect next year.
Deputy Cowen said the CER has an obligation to appear before the committee following its failure to do so prior to the announcement on water charges last week.
“With the consultation period on Irish Water’s proposed charges due to expire at the end of August, I feel it is imperative the committee hears about its submission to the CER. We need to hear about the thought process and the reasoning behind the charges and allowances, which have so far gone unchallenged.
“It was extremely disappointing that the CER failed to appear before the committee prior to last week’s announcement of proposed water charges, despite promising twice to do so. If the process is to be transparent, the committee should have an opportunity to question the CER about the submission it received from Irish Water and put forward our own suggestions regarding allowances for people under boil water notices, for example.
“Public confidence in the CER and in Irish Water is extremely low at the moment. Government promises of the average water bill for families of €240 have been rubbished and families now face much higher average costs. The CER also needs to explain why it chose to halve the allowance for children from 38,000 litres per child per year to just 21,000.
“Today I have written to the Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment calling for a meeting to be convened before the end of August and requesting for the CER, Paul McGowan to attend.”