Only 46% of people have made water payments in its first cycle, Irish Water has confirmed. €30.5 million was received in the first billing cycle for drinking water and wastewater services provided by the public utility and 675,000 households are paying water charges.
Elizabeth Arnett, Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs with Irish Water, said: “675,000 households are now paying water charges meaning that nearly 2 million people are living in homes that pay for water services supplied by Irish Water. Payment received for the first billing cycle, at over €30.5m, is 46% of €66.8m due and payments for the first bill are still coming in.”
“Typically, in well established UK water utilities, customers take an average of 3 months to pay a water bill. No reminders have been issued to our customers and yet we have a payment rate that is broadly in line with what would be expected for a new utility sending out a new bill for the first time. This represents a solid start for Irish Water.”
However, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the environment, Brian Stanley TD, has claimed that the low numbers of people who have paid their water charges proves that threats to attach the charge to people’s homes and earnings is clearly not working.
Deputy Stanley said: “The recent railroading of legislation to force people to pay water charges was known before the most recent deadline. It was clearly hoped that that would induce a large number of people to pay the bills they had received.
“That threat has failed, and many people do not regard the legislative changes as sufficient to force them to comply. It is also the case that more and more people are of the belief that the next general election will lead to the defeat of the government, the abolition of water charges, and a restructuring of the water services to repair the damage done by Irish Water.”