Bill Stress - Water ChargesToday we presented a comprehensive Water Charges Submission on behalf of more than 4,000 members who contributed to it, along with the rest of the now 65,000+ strong One Big Switch network.

By adding their voices to the submission, One Big Switch members have taken positive action to make sure the consumer voice is heard in the water charges debate.

The key findings of the submission highlight the level of bill stress Irish households are already facing and the impact new water charges would have on their financial and physical wellbeing. The key findings concluded that:

  • 77% of co-authors do not support the introduction of water charges with the majority believing they are unaffordable and families are already struggling enough,
  • 97% of respondents are currently experiencing bill stress, with 65% of respondents experiencing “a lot” or “extreme” bill stress.
  • 97% believe the proposed charge of €240 will increase their bill stress.
  • The proposed allocations are insufficient for an average household to lead a healthy lifestyle, and
  • The application of the charges as proposed is inequitable and more needs to be done to ensure fairness in its application.

While the introduction of water charges are going ahead, it’s vital that policy makers take note of a submission written by consumers. Particularly when they consider the real impact that the proposed €240 water charges will have on many household budgets.” One Big Switch founder Oliver Tattan said,

It’s important the voice of ordinary Irish households is heard by key policy makers in the final deliberations on the design of the Water Charges payment and billing systems.”

Copies of the submission have been received by representatives of all major political parties as well as government representatives including the Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and the Minister for Social Protection.

Details of the report and the list of contributors can be found at here.


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Anonymous from CE commented:

As per usual in Ireland just another unnecessry qango, which will be over staffed and they no doubt will over paid. This is just another revenue earner, the government doesn't care, no concern for yet another unfair charge/tax causing stress to people in this country. 

Anonymous from CE commented:

The existing water system needs to be sorted properly, upgraded before charging starts, having to pay anything in areas when there is undrinkable water issues is very unfair, it's costing these people to purchase water from supermarkets. Initially the average mentined was €240, but as per usual that was incorrect and will as per everything in this country work out in multiples of that. The rates need to be set fairly and daily allowances need to be realistic to actual day to day living and measured accordingly, not be set so low to cause health issues and stress for people. People have been hit badly with taxes/charge, especially charges/taxes that come in temporary but somehow seem to stay and increase drastically. This needs to be thought out properly and done correctly and fairly. 

David - One Big Switch
David - One Big Switch from D commented:

Agreed, if water isn't at a quality level to be consumed, it's probably not fair to charge for it. 

Robert from C commented:

I have been paying water charges in Cyprus for over 20 years and my average bill is never more than 5 euros per month. Cyprus is an extremely hot country with little rain fall but they have desalination plants. Why is Irish water intending to charge such high fees. We should all refuse to pay. 

David from C commented:

You are doing a great job Keep up the good work The more people complain then the government will take heed 

David - One Big Switch
David - One Big Switch from D replied to David:

Thanks for the support David, it's always appreciated, I'll pass it on to the rest of the team! 

Mike from KE commented:

To Mary from Louth: As Eddie Hobbs warned us for many years, we live in "RIP-OFF IRELAND" that's why bills will be enormous! We have a government who are hypocritical. They were elected on a firm promise of shutting down quangos. Their actions then set up IRISH WATER. IW proceeded to spend enormous amounts of taxpayer’s money on consultants. That is 'jobs for the boys' A recent report published in the Sunday Business Post states that IW running costs could be up to twice and near three times that of similar water companies in Britain at the same early stage of development. and In simple terms the most efficient system for the supply and payment for water is what we have had for the past 200 years - paid via central taxation; radically reformed of course. Water was never free, as some people have assumed. It was always paid for by the taxpayer. So why are we being now told to pay twice for it? I fear that the infrastructure that has been built at enormous expense (both capital & running costs) is yet another quango. Later it will be sold off to be privatised to line pockets of wealthy friends of the Party Politicians. That is the perception of families in distress. This is a catastrophe for ordinary people. A money consuming Frankenstein monster has been created that may destroy the coalition Political Parties. The strategy needs to be, increase efficiency and greater individual productivity, with government ministers leading their nation by personal example. The goal - achieving more with fewer resources - starting with Irish Water. A tough call, but vital for the poor taxpayers. We need to get our act together and train hard to reach competitive fitness. Like an athlete we must compete or die economically. Mike from North Kildare 

Lynne from D commented:

The water charges here are too high - In Spain (where there is less rain!!) a family of 4 (parents & 2 teens) is charged approx €44 per quarter. There are no allowances but the same rate for all. Surely by reducing the price for all (allowances are difficult to allocate) it would be much fairer - pay for what you use like electricity/gas. 

David - One Big Switch
David - One Big Switch from D replied to Lynne:

Interesting point Lynne, thanks for sharing. 

Margaret from LD commented:

Not sure where they the government think we are going to get the money to pay they have us screwed with all the tax and high vat we have to pay. Out of my OAP 220 euro a week having worked all my life to support my country they are now trying to kill me off with stress. On top of all the tax and vat pay out I can't even get into a hospital waiting to have a test done for near an year. May be dead by the time they get back to me. What a way OUR COUNTRY treats it's people who were born here and worked here and poured our money back into the country. SHAME SHAME SHAME on them. 

Marie from MH commented:

We have no idea how we are going to pay this; we are already at breaking point, and there is no leeway; we are entitled to nothing, despite one of the family having a long term illness, this illness is not one of the recognised long term ones; our medical bills are insane. We have no health insurance- now at our age, and with pre-existing conditions, we are not insurable. We couldn't afford it anyway. We have talked about cutting down the rinse cycle for the washing machine; about going back to hand washing dishes; about flushing the toilet with rainwater; however, none of this will change the fact that it is a bill that we cannot afford. There are already threats from Irish Water to go after bill defaulters through their bank accounts if necessary. That's why they want your bank account details. It is the stuff of nightmares. People are crying "stop!" and no-one is listening. 

David - One Big Switch
David - One Big Switch from D replied to Marie:

Hi Marie, sorry to hear you're struggling. We hope we can produce offers and campaigns that will offer you some relief. 

Harry from WX commented:

More taxes and I'm sure the government ministers will be exempt for some reason. What will happen to all the recycling, will people continue to rinse out bottles, cartons, containers, etc. and pay for the water they use, I think not. 

John from C commented:

This ridiculous proposed water added tax is based on flawed information/calculations as revealed by an ESRI economist ?The post election reduction in Child allowance is deeply cynical, and more account should be taken of the plight of those with illness, and health problems requiring increased water use . 

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