While Irish Water has failed to respond to repeated requests by the Leitrim Observer for clarity on the position of Group Water Schemes (GWSs) under the new billing regime, Leitrim County Council has published details on its website aimed at addressing concerns raised about how private GWSs on the public supply will be charged for usage.
The information, published on-line last week, advises those on GWSs to select the “Group Water Scheme” connection on the Irish Water form that Irish Water have sent in recent weeks.
The main reason behind this is that Irish Water categorise a GWS as a non-domestic customer so different charges are applied to those GWSs drawing from the public water supply.
According to Leitrim County Council the Commission of Energy Regulation (CER) has only deliberated on the domestic charges and allowances for individually metered houses.
“Group Water Schemes are considered non-domestic customers so, until this process is carried out for the non-domestic customers, the same Leitrim County Council charges and allowances (previously in place) still apply.”
This means that GWSs which are currently being billed by the Council based on consumption at the bulk meter will continue to be billed this way and staff from the Council will continue to read the bulk meters, at least up until the end of 2015.
However, any problems experienced by those running GWSs with the bulk meter will have to be reported to Irish Water for resolution, not the Council.
Under present allowances, Group Water Schemes have an allowance of 225m3 per domestic connection each year.
Anything used above this will be charged at a rate of €1.10 per m3 and the same standing rate of €60 per annum will still applied.
Leitrim County Council stress that no concessions will be made for any leakages on a scheme, meaning that any water lost will have to be paid for and the Council will continue to collect any previously outstanding balances on behalf of Irish Water.
It is noted that those schemes which wish to be taken over by Irish Water will have to wait as no takeover policy has yet been established by the body.
Irish Water will only consider a takeover of a GWS at the request of the Scheme members and the Scheme will have to meet specific qualifying criteria.
The members of any GWS running into difficulty such as where a scheme’s Committee resigns and the Scheme is abandoned, are asked to seek advice from the National Federation Group Water Schemes for details of exactly what their legal obligations will be.
Contact NFGWS on 047-72766 for further details.