33 percent of water bills could be standing charges

waterThe Social Protection Minister says the government has not discussed the level of standing charges at Irish Water.

It follows reports in the Irish Independent that the agency has submitted plans for a 33 percent charge on the average bill to the energy regulator.

That could cost householders up to 100 euro before they have even used any water.

It is understood the measure is designed to give Irish Water a guaranteed income stream, which they will need in order to borrow money to develop their infrastructure.

The scale of the standing charge is likely to provoke some backlash because it will not act as an incentive to conserve water.

The charge is as low as 10 percent in other countries

Joan Burton says the government has not discussed the plans and she says it is important that the water charge is fair.

"This is a submission - the key thing in relation to Irish Water is that we have a system which imposes the least possible cost, particularly on families, and that we work to ensure that the charges are both moderate and that they're fair" she said.