The Chairperson of the Commission for Energy Regulation, Garrett Blayney, today admitted that domestic water charges may increase substantially when the current charges regime comes to an end in December 2016. Questioned by Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD, Mr. Blaney said that it was “too early to say” at what rate charges would be billed once the current government subventions, allowances and reliefs which are currently available come to an end.
Deputy Stanley said:
“The Commissioner confirmed that Government subventions and allowances, as well as the tax and social welfare reliefs contained in last week’s Budget, are keeping the water charges at a current average of €278 per household. Were they not to be in place, the average rate would be €594.
“Even that figure could be surpassed if the entire costs of Irish water are passed on to households after 2016. Given that the current allowances will end following the next election, the suspicion has to be that they are a stop gap designed for political purposes in order to save the two government parties, and in particular the Labour Party, from the wrath of the electorate.”