You are here

High proposed standing charge for water would hurt poorest households

Published 14/04/2014


Age Action is concerned by media reports today that Irish Water is seeking the introduction of a standing charge – higher than the international average – for water services as part of the payment model due to be introduced next year.

Media reports suggest that the charge being sought would equate to one-third of the average annual household bill  -- or  about €100 per annum.  “The fact that the charge represents such a large percentage of the average bill does not augur well for the creation of a payment model which would protect low income households,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.  “The provision of water is a basic human right and the payment model must recognise a person’s ability to pay.”

A high standing charge would have a greater impact on low income households.  Age Action is particularly concerned about the impact this would have on pensioners living alone, many of whom are already struggling to survive on a single pension. Over 30% of older people live alone in Ireland.

“A high standing charge would mean that before they even turn on the tap, low income pensioners would be hit,” Mr Timmins said. “We still do not know how many free units  the Government will allow before charges kick in, but if the Commission for Energy Regulation accepts Irish Water’s proposals for a high standing charge it will disproportionately hit those who can least afford to pay regardless of the free allocation.”

Age Action believes that, in addition to the free allocation of water units, an extra provision should be made for households where medical conditions mean that a person has a greater need for water.

The older people’s charity also believes that the model for estimating unmetered houses should take into consideration the number of people living in a home.  Age Action believes using the number of people living in a house to estimate water consumption would be the fairest way to protect older people living alone.



Age Action Ireland to benefit from Gas Networks Ireland Survey

Age Action is to benefit from a Gas Networks Ireland initiative. Customers will recieve a txt message from Gas Networks in relation to recent gas meter installations requesting feedback on their experience. Every feedback received will see a €2 donation made to Age Action. There is no obligation to participate.


How It Works

If you've had your gas meter recently replaced by Gas Networks Ireland, you may receive a message from Marie Lyster, their Customer Experience Manager. This message is an invitation to share your feedback, but please remember, your participation is entirely voluntary. Here's what the message will look like:

Message from Gas Networks Ireland:

“You recently had your gas meter replaced by us. Please take a minute to tell us how you got on by clicking on the link below. Your feedback is important to us, helping us to improve our services. There is no obligation to participate, but should you choose to do so, on receipt of your response, we will donate €2 to Age Action Ireland.

Many thanks, Marie Lyster, Customer Experience Manager"


By providing feedback – only if you choose to – you'll be supporting Age Action Ireland. For every piece of feedback received, Gas Networks Ireland will donate €2 to our organisation. This contribution can support our efforts to improve the lives of older people in Ireland.

For more information about our work and other ways to get involved with Age Action, please click here