Rooskey businessman Andrew Reynolds has slammed the cabinet's approval of a new water charging regime for non-domestic customers, due to come into force next year as “frustrating and deeply unfair on already struggling businesses.”
Speaking this week to the Leitrim Observer, Mr. Reynolds said he was “frankly outraged to see the approval of the new four-band tariff system which will replace the current system where 500 different tariff levels exist. It will mean all businesses will see their bills increase between €250 and €5,000 a year at a time when many have been left deeply financially affected already by the impact of Covid – 19.”
“The move,” pointed out Mr. Reynolds, “was already delayed a year because of Covid – 19 and was welcomed by Irish Water, but I don't think this is the right time to introduce it, if at all. It is, in my opinion, an additional and unfair burden on already struggling businesses in a time of deep uncertainity.”
“At a period when people don't even know if they are going to be open next week or next month or how long they will be open for in this period of instability, to discuss introducing any kind of hike is absolutely irresponsible, frustrating and worrying.
"Retailers and companies have enough to worry about without fears of more additional costs coming down the line when they're being subsidised from every angle to keep themselves afloat as they stand. This needs to be looked at urgently and this decision absolutely needs to be put on hold until we are in more certain times.”
Irish Water disputes Mr Reynolds claims and state "For the minority of customers who will face larger increases in their annual bill, Irish Water will put in place a number of important support measures. Connections that see an increase of €250 or more will be gradually transitioned to the new tariffs over three years. For connections that will face an increase of €750 or more, Irish Water will automatically apply a 10% cap to their annual bill increase in any one year. Throughout this process, both Irish Water and the CRU have examined international best practice and consulted with representative groups and individual businesses across the country. This approach has greatly helped in developing charges that are clear, simple, and fair to all.”
More details on the new tarrifs can be found here.