Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said the roll out of water meters to homes across Ireland will begin early next year. Speaking at the Inaugural National Water Metering Summit, which took place at Croke Park on 31 May, Mr. Hogan said consultants are being appointed to examine how the new national water company will operate.
They will report back by October and the establishment of the company will follow, with the metering programme getting under way early in 2012.
The Minister said, “It was not merely a taxing measure, but a system that would protect a finite resource.” The Minister added that metering meant that people would only pay for what they use. He said the plan would also provide employment opportunities and make Ireland more attractive to foreign investors as water supply would be guaranteed.
However, householders will be forced to pay a flat-rate charge for their water for at least three years. That means homes which have a meter installed before then will have no incentive to reduce consumption. This is because they will have to pay a flat charge — likely to be €175 a year — instead of being billed on the basis of use reports the Irish Times.
Mr. Hogan also admitted that not until meters to measure consumption had been installed in the State’s 1.4 million homes would households be encouraged to reduce their usage. This means that a person living alone will have to pay the same annual charge as a family of six for the foreseeable future.