IRISH WATER GETTING READY TO BILL YOU… AGAIN?
By Liam Deegan
Never failing to shock us, Irish Water has recently tendered for a new Billing Services Customer Case Management and Legal Services contract.
While the documents do not state whether the tender specifically addresses the requirement for the billing of private dwellings or commercial premises, the tender documentation appears to intentionally NOT state who is actually going to be billed.
We knew that the backdoor for the re-introduction of water charges was left wide open by this government (which includes Fianna Fail at this stage) for billing to begin again, and as we already know that in the case of “excessive usage”, Irish Water will bill you accordingly and should you refuse to pay, then you can be assured of a court appearance and a large fine for non-payment along with having to still pay the original bill.
This was allowed for in legislation that was shoved through Dail Eireann by both Fianna Fail and Fianna Gael jointly. Irish Water were let get their foot in your front door and now it’s far too late to close it on them.
Evira (Irish Water’s owner) appears to have set out the tender in such a vague manner that it most likely allows for charging both commercial premises and private dwellings where excessive use is alleged in the case of the latter. but again, we cannot be but suspicious of their behavior given their previous form.
Meanwhile, Irish Water is continuing with the water meter programme in the expectation that excessive water usage bills dropping through doors will help begin the acceptance of the regularised billing programme that faltered after fierce resistance and public pressure forced them to stop sending out bills.
The Billing Services contract will include the validation of accounts and cleansing of account information in terms of current and previous ownership, current and previous occupancy, current and previous occupier contact details, account history review, metering, complaints and escalations.
While the Legal Service contract will include the use of solicitors to act as legal debt collectors, the issuing of legal demand letters, phone collection calls, and processing of payments.
Looks like the government are going to jump from the frying pan into the fire… Again!