Water Supply: Meters

House of Lords written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether householders in Northern Ireland may purchase water-metering equipment; and, if so, whether there are any limitations to the circumstances in which they may do so.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Sustainable Farming and Food), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Farming and Food), The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

The chief executive of Water Service has written to the noble Lord and gave the following response:

Letter from Mrs Katharine Bryan to Lord Laird dated 9 March 2007.

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government whether householders in Northern Ireland may purchase water-metering equipment and, if so, whether there are any limitations to the circumstances in which they may do so (HL2425). I have been asked to reply, as this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of Water Service.

Our intention is to manage the transition to metering in a way that maximises the overall fairness of the charging regime for all customers, with particular focus on affordability. This includes managing the rebalancing effects that result from a metering regime. Allowing customers to carry out their own installation would be like an optional scheme for those who can afford a meter. Pending ministerial approval, it is the intention, however, to move as quickly as possible to the situation where all customers have the option of moving to a metered tariff.

Under the new domestic charging arrangements to be introduced on 1 April 2007, Water Service will be installing water meters on all new-build properties and first-time connections, and will begin to install meters for pensioner households who have formally requested them. There will be no up-front charge to the householder; costs will be recovered through annual metered customer bills. There will be no other opportunity for householders to purchase water-metering equipment.

I trust that you find this satisfactory.

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