From Irish Examiner 25 September 2014
By Juno McEnroe
Political Correspondent, Irish Examiner

Irish Water has confirmed that plans to draw up a list of medical conditions to give certain households discounts for water charges have been scrapped for at least another two years.

The Irish Examiner can confirm that no such list will be drawn up until 2017 at the earliest.

The Government had promised to draw up a list of specific medical conditions to allow households qualify for subsidised water bills.

Earlier this week, the Department of Environment said it hoped to have a list agreed by October 1.

But Irish Water says households will only be asked to declare if they have a condition or not on forms. The company confirmed there would be no list drawn up in the current price control period, which lasts until December 31, 2016.

It was also confirmed last night that the Data Protection Commissioner has asked Irish Water to clarify how it will handle PPS numbers after concerns about use of personal data.

It has also been revealed that water rates and free allowances in general will not be unveiled until just hours before meters start clocking up costs. The energy regulator will unveil the final costs for users, the fixed unit price, and any free allowances for children, the day before charging begins next Wednesday.

Irish Water says 450,000 homes have been metered. This means that over 1m more will be on assessed charges. The Government says the average bill will be €240, but others claim households can expect bills of hundreds of euros.

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