Irish Water refutes rural TD’s claims that bills have increased recently

Irish Water refutes claims from Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice that farmers’ water bills have “increased substantially” recently.

The rural TD, from the Roscommon-Galway constituency, claimed that a new charging system introduced by Irish Water was unfairly penalising farmers.

This alleged new charging system would break an agreement which was made with the farming organisations some years ago, he added.

Deputy Fitzmaurice called on all farmers to check their bills, to ensure that they are not being overcharged.

In the past, farmers who had land in a number of locations used to only pay one service charge for the meter and then they paid for water usage at all locations, Deputy Fitzmaurice said.

But now Irish Water is allegedly charging the service charge for all the locations and it is adding hundreds of euro to the water bills of some farmers, he added.

If these allegations are true, then it “flies in the face” of the agreement made with the farm organisations some years ago, he said.

This is a totally unacceptable move and farmers should not be used to replace funds that the government will have to raise to pay for water services.

“I have contacted Irish Water about this situation and I am asking farmers to look carefully at their water bills to see if this extra change has been applied.

“I will be liasing with Irish Water on this matter; we cannot allow a situation where farmers are used as scapegoats to raise revenue,” he concluded.

No change to billing method

However, Irish Water has said that there have been no changes made to the existing billing frequency of bills or the method of charging any customer group – including farmers.

Irish Water assumed responsibility for public water services in January 2014, a spokesperson told AgriLand.

Until very recently, local authorities issued bills for water services to businesses on behalf of Irish Water and continued to manage all queries in relation to business accounts.

“Following the transfer of billing to Irish Water the utility now manages all aspects of business accounts directly, including billing for water services.

“The only change that may be visible is the change in terms of the volume that was used and, on occasion, the number of days billed in a cycle – this depends on when the meter was read,” the spokesperson concluded.