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Water Charges - figures don't add up?

  • 16-04-2014 2:05am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 9,183 ✭✭✭ sdanseo


    According to RTÉ
    The proposed average water charge for a household will be €240 per annum, it is understood.

    and
    It is also understood that the Government will provide a subvention or funding of in excess of €500m to Irish Water per annum.

    and according to the CSO, there are 1,658,243 households in the state, making total projected revenue just shy of €400 million.

    What happened to the idea that water charges were to be a money making exercise to satisfy the troika? Is it me or is this not going to lose the taxpayer €102 million a year while simultaneously costing every man, woman and child in the state close to €100 each?


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Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,030 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    100m as opposed to the existing funding via councils which is more.

    Also there will be higher users.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 717 ✭✭✭ rubberdiddies


    the cynic in me ensures that I am taking these 'low' figures with a complete pinch of salt. After all there is an election coming up.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,221 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    the cynic in me ensures that I am taking these 'low' figures with a complete pinch of salt. After all there is an election coming up.
    And there is a politics forum to discuss such matters. So let's stay on topic

    Moderator



    I suspect a big problem is RTÉ are (a) guessing and (b) not appreciating that the 'average' household has about 3 people in it, not the "two adults and two children" as is common taken in the media (c) they are failing to take into account that a large chunk of the water will be paid for by businesses, not households.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭ maestroamado


    Victor wrote: »
    And there is a politics forum to discuss such matters. So let's stay on topic

    Moderator



    I suspect a big problem is RTÉ are (a) guessing and (b) not appreciating that the 'average' household has about 3 people in it, not the "two adults and two children" as is common taken in the media (c) they are failing to take into account that a large chunk of the water will be paid for by businesses, not households.



    business already pay for rates... it is unlikely that they will be expected to pay water charges on top of this but I am hoping someone will confirm....


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,030 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    business already pay for rates... it is unlikely that they will be expected to pay water charges on top of this but I am hoping someone will confirm....

    Businesses have already been paying water charges for donkeys years.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 717 ✭✭✭ rubberdiddies


    Victor wrote: »
    And there is a politics forum to discuss such matters. So let's stay on topic

    Moderator



    I suspect a big problem is RTÉ are (a) guessing and (b) not appreciating that the 'average' household has about 3 people in it, not the "two adults and two children" as is common taken in the media (c) they are failing to take into account that a large chunk of the water will be paid for by businesses, not households.

    sorry, I should have elaborated. My point is that I don't believe those figures and I dont believe there will be a shortfall. The €50 standing charge seems to be much too low an estimate.

    a previous business my brother ran was charged €30 per quarter standing charge and €1 water charge (as his premises only had a toilet).

    I cant imagine a shortfall will be allowed to happen and presumably the only guaranteed way to increase the income will be to have a higher standing charge. I personally, based on existing business standing charges, don't expect it to be less than €100 per year.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,374 ✭✭✭✭ foggy_lad


    Less than a quarter of homes have meters fitted so how are they going to estimate the usage for those without meters? Will there be a fair appeals process if they make a mess as usually happens?

    The free allowance is rumoured as being enough water to have a two minute shower and to brush your teeth and flush the toilet a few times a day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 antoobrien


    foggy_lad wrote: »
    Less than a quarter of homes have meters fitted so how are they going to estimate the usage for those without meters? Will there be a fair appeals process if they make a mess as usually happens?

    The free allowance is rumoured as being enough water to have a two minute shower and to brush your teeth and flush the toilet a few times a day.

    The 55,000L free allowance I heard rumoured works out at 150L/day. Galway city council estimate average household use to be approx 500L/day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭ maestroamado


    antoobrien wrote: »
    The 55,000L free allowance I heard rumoured works out at 150L/day. Galway city council estimate average household use to be approx 500L/day.

    I seen a bill sent to a relative and it stated an allowance of 100L per day... personally I think the standing charge is not fair as part of any service contract if you are paying for the product the supplier pays the upfront cost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,516 ✭✭✭✭ Idbatterim


    500L per day?! are they all having baths on a daily basis and using old massive cistern w.c?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 342 ✭✭ stezie


    i wonder why there has been no incentives ( none that i have seen) from the government to entice home owners to install water harvesting systems where possible for the purpose of filling toilets and for gardening, washing the car, etc. surely all thats needed after that is enough water for washing yourself and drinking water.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 antoobrien


    Idbatterim wrote: »
    500L per day?! are they all having baths on a daily basis and using old massive cistern w.c?

    They are the quoted figures, I don't know how realistic they are, but then the city council in question found 10 properties with a combined "usage" of of 341,000L per day, so it's likely that the averages include waste as well as actual use.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,030 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Waste is unmetered and worked out as the same as the input water, so you can half the figures if that is the case.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,359 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    stezie wrote: »
    i wonder why there has been no incentives ( none that i have seen) from the government to entice home owners to install water harvesting systems where possible for the purpose of filling toilets and for gardening, washing the car, etc. surely all thats needed after that is enough water for washing yourself and drinking water.

    is there any incentive for the govt. or Irish Water to do this? The cost of running the system is largely fixed and they have to recoup this - its not as if they can decommission a few reservoirs and lay off a few thousand staff if everyone installs rainwater harvesting systems. This is why the "free allowance" is a sham - if everyone manages to stay within the allowance, who will pay for the system?


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,221 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    loyatemu wrote: »
    if everyone manages to stay within the allowance, who will pay for the system?
    (a) The fixed charge element of the bill and (b) the subvention from the Local Government Fund.

    Of course, not everyone will stay within the allowance.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,030 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    loyatemu wrote: »
    if everyone manages to stay within the allowance, who will pay for the system?

    If everyone stays within the allowance, the costs will plummet through the floor due to the massive reduction in storage, purification and sewage handling capacity this would represent.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,359 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    MYOB wrote: »
    If everyone stays within the allowance, the costs will plummet through the floor due to the massive reduction in storage, purification and sewage handling capacity this would represent.

    it would take years for those savings to be realised - the water charge has to cover the costs of current capacity.

    the charge has to raise a certain amount of money - whether there is a free allowance or not, we collectively will have to pay that amount.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,955 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    With regards to the free allowance, back during the big freeze, the mains froze so I was making daily trips to my sister's to fill a bootload of 5litre bottles.

    I have lo-flo toilets throughout the house and even with that, 3 people were going through 120 litres a day just on toilets, washing hands and dishes.

    That was us being careful with how we used it and there were no showers or washing clothes. Include those and you rapidly eat up that allowance especially if there are 3 or more in the house and you also add water used for consumption and cooking

    Based solely on my own personal experience during that cold winter, the vast majority will exceed the allowance


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    According to Dublin City Council, they produce 540 million litres of water to 1.5 million customers per day. That works out as 360 litres of water per customer. If you allow 40% for leakage, that equates to 216 litres per day.

    Also, remember this includes commercial users, so that would bring down the domestic figure further.

    Irish water will be billing for water by the tonne, not the litre. [1,000 litres = 1 tonne or 1 cubic metre]. :)

    216 litres per day equates to 79 tonnes per year.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    I've done some checking.

    My house was metered about 6 years ago and in that time I have used 640 cubic meters (assuming the meter was zero when it went in).

    That is approx 100 CuM/year. If my use is average (I have to assume something) and the average bill is €240 per year, then the cost per CuM is €2.4. That is €0.24c per litre. Flushing a toilet cost 1c, and having a shower - maybe 10c. If my use is below average (which it probably is) then these numbers would be lower - possibly by 30%. [These numbers are not confirmed by anyone yet].

    Boiling a kettle costs about 4c or maybe 5c in electricity and 0.4c in water. (if my sums are right)

    In other jurisdictionsthe cost of water is 5 to 10 this price.

    A bottle of Ballygowan is about €1 for 500cl.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 76 ✭✭✭ padrepio


    standing charge has been abolished - http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/middleincome-families-to-pay-more-for-water-30240829.html

    should make for more efficient use of water by consumers rather than the cynical objective to make Irish Water a cash cow


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Further sums.

    I contacted the council (DCC) and I have had meter installed for about 5 years and they measured my consumption as 0.368 CuM/day or 135 CuM/year. This is the actual measurement. They reduced leakage in my area to zero. Quite an achievement. Well done lads.

    I was told my use is 'a bit below average' if that helps. So if we assume a years use is 150 CuM and costs €240, that works out as 0.16 c per litre, or 0.12c if the average yearly use is 200 CuM.

    With no standing charge, that is not too bad. Cheaper than Ballygowan.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,180 ✭✭✭ hfallada


    Why are people so opposed to a standing charge? You have it on every utility in Ireland. A standing charge is logically considering the council still have to pump water to your house and maintain the network r regardless if you use water.

    Most people are forgetting also a lot of rural houses have wells rather than a pumped council mains


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭ marmurr1916


    This will be another factor to be taken into account when people are buying or selling houses.

    Presumably a standard part of a survey about the condition of the property will in future include a section about its water consumption and whether there are any leaking pipes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭ marmurr1916


    hfallada wrote: »
    Why are people so opposed to a standing charge? You have it on every utility in Ireland. A standing charge is logically considering the council still have to pump water to your house and maintain the network r regardless if you use water.

    Most people are forgetting also a lot of rural houses have wells rather than a pumped council mains

    The standing charge won't be introduced.

    There's no free allowance in England.

    Every drop of water must be paid for.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,289 ✭✭✭✭ Cookie_Monster


    The standing charge won't be introduced.

    no, they've settled for a load of ridiculous exemption instead, such as a certain amount per child.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,925 ✭✭✭ NSAman


    hfallada wrote: »
    Why are people so opposed to a standing charge? You have it on every utility in Ireland. A standing charge is logically considering the council still have to pump water to your house and maintain the network r regardless if you use water.

    Most people are forgetting also a lot of rural houses have wells rather than a pumped council mains

    From my own perspective, the standing charge is a complete rip off. 30Euro a quarter (business rates) and water allowance that was never EVER used up. Simply put the standing charge is a cash cow with no incentive to save water at all.

    At one stage I even got charged a bill for 1000 euro and despite the fact I proved that I was not running a waterpark they refused to believe me. Finally they admitted (the council) that a mistake had been made in the billing, after threatening me with court action.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    If the average bill is decided, then that is fixed. With a free allowance per household, the cost per CuM (tonne) goes up. With a fixed charge before water is charged for, brings down the cost per CuM. We are talking about a difference of €1 to €2 per CuM. With the higher figure, a toilet flush will cost 9l of water or €00.18c. and a 'quick' shower, 6c. (30l).

    However, the soap costs more than the water for a washing machine or dishwasher, the electricity and tea will cost more than the water for a cup of tea.

    We need to get a sense of proportion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,980 ✭✭✭ Call me Al


    How are they working this out in the context of people with their own septic tank system, who are not using public sewage schemes but who are using a water mains system and have a water meter? Is there a separate charge for public sewage? How do they differentiate between those households in terms of their bills?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 76 ✭✭✭ padrepio


    hfallada wrote: »
    Why are people so opposed to a standing charge? You have it on every utility in Ireland. A standing charge is logically considering the council still have to pump water to your house and maintain the network r regardless if you use water.

    Most people are forgetting also a lot of rural houses have wells rather than a pumped council mains

    the majority of utility providers in Ireland are seeking to make a profit though.

    Irish Water in theory anyway is seeking to provide safe water services to all Irish citizens at the lowest possible cost per litre

    however, the bean counters are aiming to get 500m euro back from Irish Water so abolishing the standing charge, i.e. a guaranteed revenue stream, regardless of consumption could put this at risk

    The cynic in me is thinking this was always the "good news" plan, the state will try to increase the cost per litre instead to cover the charge if they are short. Likely that in the first couple of years people wont change their water consumption too much but will when they can start seeing the bills decreasing.

    As others have said mains water shouldnt be used for washing your car so hopefully industry will start offering more of these water recycling solutions for people.

    While many use wells in rural areas, the quality of groundwater in Ireland is incredibly poor. The EU having been fining the state on this for a few years, they are pushing for septic tank regulation big time - http://www.thejournal.ie/septic-tank-inspections-miss-deadline-daily-fine-epa-788562-Feb2013/.

    Suspect when Irish Water is up and going, the days of using a local well will be made very difficult thus closing off this debate.

    In the lesser of two evils argument, the getting rid of the standing charge is preferable imo.


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