Northern Ireland Water charges to rise…

As the BBC reported on 27 March

Northern Ireland Water is putting up charges to its 80,000 non-domestic customers from April – the first price rise in three years.

The company said the increase would average out at 2.4%.

The main factor “dictating this increase” is a £14m rise, or doubling, of its rates bill, following a revaluation carried out of all local businesses last year.

In the previous two financial years, Northern Ireland Water cut its tariffs.

Businesses and farms pay bills, with the majority, around 70,000, being metered for their water use and sewerage services.

There is a difference between metered and un-metered customers…

The company gave examples of what the financial impact of the increase might be.

It said a medium factory which paid £3,282 last year would see the bill rise by 1.4%, or £45.

But customers without a meter, whose bills are partly based on the rateable value of the business, would face steeper increases.

It quoted a 6.4% increase for a small shop or office without a meter, taking the bill it quoted from £250 a year to £266.

The NI Water press release adds

The increases are necessary due to unavoidable external factors impacting on operating costs and the cost of necessary improvements to the water and sewerage infrastructure to meet standards and improve quality for customers.

and…

NI Water is required to annually review the charges levied for water and sewerage services and agree them with the Utility Regulator in order that customers pay the fairest rate for the water and sewerage services they receive. The new charges, to be reflected in bills from April, follow the Utility Regulator’s decision on the prices NI Water should charge customers between 2015-21.

As for domestic customers, the BBC report notes

Northern Ireland Water also said it was committed to making £22m of savings over the next six years.

But with the company already having cut its workforce by a third from 2007, it said this will not involve further redundancies.

Stormont pays the company a subsidy of around £270m annually to off-set charging domestic customers. [added emphasis]

[Regardless of usage? – Ed]  Or ability to pay…

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  • hugh mccloy

    Not counting the millions £££ loan it owes tax payers

  • chrisjones2

    But there are no water charges in NI …..SF said so ……or said so down South

    This must be an April Fool. Mustn’t it?

  • mickfealty

    Every day is April Fool’s Day in NI politics. (“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get elected after we do it”).

  • Jag

    It’s not difficult – there are no *domestic* water charges in the six counties – SF said so and continues to correctly pride itself on that fact in the 26 counties.

  • Jag

    “The main factor “dictating this increase” is a £14m rise, or doubling, of its rates bill, following a revaluation carried out of all local businesses last year.”

    What a load of Newsspeak-type rameis (ra-mesh, Coca Cola for “rubbish”)

    “Revaluation” of all local businesses? What does that mean? Are the local businesses using more water? Probably not. Are they making more profit? Almost definitely not.

    It’s just a monopoly hiking prices at a whim.

  • mickfealty

    Jag,

    Okay, basics first.

    You pay for Northern Irish Water within the regional rate. To be fair it is an item in the bill. But it is not subject to concession for hardship or concession for lower use.

    The larger point being that undifferentiated charging means higher rates since if you are not metered NIWater cannot tell how much you are using (and the more you use the quicker the infrastructure degrades).

    To spell it out plainly, over 80% of the water loss in the NI Water system is due to leakage on the consumer network, not within the wider infrastructure.

    So even if you have no leaks on your property, under this magic system where there are no water rates per se, you are paying for all those who do have. More later.

  • Jag

    Hi Mick, I’ll take you at your word, but could you post an anonymised bill which shows water charges as an item on a domestic rates bill.

    I understood that Northern Ireland Water received around £270m a year as a direct block grant from the Northern Ireland administration as a substitute for domestic water charges.

    But if you can evidence water charges as a specific item on the domestic rates bill, that might clear everything up.

  • mickfealty

    You have the better of me there Jag. I was decribing the DUP’s manifesto proposal from as far back as 2007. It clearly never made it into practice. It comes out of a block grant as you say.