Water Price Hike Increases Cost Pressure on Dublin Firms

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By Chamber Press Office, 03 July 2019

New water tariffs, announced today by the  Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), will lead to businesses in Dublin paying significantly more for water, according to Dublin Chamber.  
The Chamber said the CRU’s new tariff regime will heap further costs pressure on businesses in the Dublin region and hurt the region’s competitiveness. The changes will have a big impact on businesses in the hospitality sector including hotels and restaurants, the Chamber said, noting that this sector had already been hit in recent times by a hike in the VAT rate and also an increase in commercial rates.
Changes to the tariff structure were confirmed today in the CRU’s Decision Paper on Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework. The new structure will see an 18% increase in the costs paid by businesses in Dublin for combined water and wastewater services.  The new tariff will come into effect in May 2020.
The Chamber said it was disappointed that the CRU has failed to provide a breakdown of the regional distribution of ‘domestic allowances’ for mixed-use connections. This information was requested by Dublin Chamber in a submission to the CRU last year. The Chamber had expressed concern that providing such allowances was a sop to the agricultural sector at the expense of urban business.
Dublin Chamber’s Director of Public & International Affairs Aebhric McGibney said: "The Dublin region will be disproportionately affected by the new water tariff structure, potentially undermining the region’s economic competitiveness. Dublin Chamber consistently warned the CRU about the unfair impact that the proposed tariff changes would have on Dublin businesses. It is disappointing to see that this information has not been provided. The news that Dublin is to face an increase in water charges significantly beyond the average of the rest of the country is a real blow, particularly given that the cost of providing water to businesses in Dublin is lower than elsewhere due to economies of scale. It is frustrating that cost competitiveness was not considered as a tariff principle during the consultation process, as is the case in many other countries including Germany and Switzerland as well as several US states. Ultimately, not considering this factor has contributed to the considerable price hikes that Dublin firms will now need to swallow.”
“Dublin Chamber backs the need for much-increased investment in Ireland's water infrastructure and accepts that funding needs to be found in order for improvements to be carried out, but is concerned that the business community in Dublin in particular is being burdened with the cost of years of underinvestment in Ireland’s water infrastructure,” said Mr McGibney.
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For further information please contact:
Graeme McQueen | Head of Communications | Dublin Chamber | 086 212 6444 | graeme@dublinchamber.ie