Is it fair to ask people to pay for excessive water use?

Irish Water has confirmed that plans are in place to introduce excess water charges from next year.

A report from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) confirmed the suspension of water charges would continue until December 31st, 2018.

Excess use charges will not begin until January 1st, 2019, “at the earliest” while bills for excess use charges will not be issued until July 1st next year “at the earliest”.

Charges to domestic customers will only apply when water in excess of 213,000 litres per year is used.

The CRU said there will be no charges to domestic customers in any circumstances in 2018.

The rules and processes relating to excess use charges will be determined by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

Irish Water said a public consultation would be carried out to determine what constitutes excess usage.

In a statement Irish water said “The Water Charges Plan clarifies that there will be no charges for water services for domestic customers in 2018; provides that excess use charges will apply from 2019; advises that detail regarding excess-use charge levels, commencement dates and associated rules and processes will be agreed with the Minister and the CRU and provided in a later version of the water charges plan,”

However, Solidarity TD Paul Murphy has said the introduction of excess water charges starting from next year could lead to a reintroduction of water charges in the future.

He said “Irish Water plans to charge for water from next January “will come as no surprise to those following the debates in the Dáil”.

In a statement he went on to say “Clearly, any excessive usage charges would only be the thin edge of the wedge in attempting to reintroduce water charges for all,” he said in a statement.

“However, there is a world of difference between Irish Water’s plan for charges and their actual implementation. Water charges remain politically completely toxic.”

Mr Murphy said the implementation will be met with “mass opposition” from people who had campaigned against the introduction of water charges.

I am going to speak to Paul Murphy in a moment but before I do I want to ask you if you would be happy paying for excessive water use or if you will be taking to the streets again.

Many people hailed the end to water charges as a victory for those who protested. Now they are threatening to return to the streets if we’re charged for excess use.

Will you be taking to the streets? Or do you agree with paying for excessive use?

So – do you think it is fair to ask people to pay for excessive water use?

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