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Explanatory Memorandum to Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Government Response to Consultation

6.Following careful consideration of the response to the various consultations, the Government decided to proceed with the reform of water and sewerage services to make them self financing, thus generating the revenue needed to sustain investment in Northern Ireland’s water and sewerage infrastructure and free up resources for other public services. The main elements of the reform package are:

  • all households will pay a direct charge for water and sewerage services received, consisting of a standing charge and a variable element based on the discrete capital value of each property; the new household charges will be phased in from April 2007 with one third payable in the first year, two-thirds in the second year and the full amount in 2009-10. There will be special protections for those on low incomes. All new properties and new connections to the water mains will pay a metered charge while pensioner households will be the first group to be offered the choice of a meter.

  • all non-domestic customers should pay water and sewerage charges, with the current domestic allowance for metered customers being phased out over a three-year period;

  • Northern Ireland’s water and sewerage services will be provided by a Government-owned Company (GoCo) which will operate under companies legislation;

  • the role of the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation (NIAER) will be expanded to include the economic and consumer regulation of water and sewerage services; and

  • the Consumer Council will become the statutory consumer representative for water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.

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