A PROPOSAL by Irish Water to charge householders a €188 callout fee has been described as “totally unacceptable” by Sinn Fein’s Cllr Maurice Quinlivan.
In a submission to the Commission for Energy Regulation, the new utility company has suggested that the first repair would be free but that subsequent visits would attract a callout fee of €188.
This would only apply to works on the householder’s side of the meter.
But the proposed fees have caused widespread concern, with Cllr Quinlivan calling on the regulator to reject them.
“The proposed callout fee of €188 is for many people their weekly income as it’s the amount paid to a single person on benefits.
“ It is a charge most families will simply be unable to pay,” the Limerick councillor declared.
“The longer this Irish Water debacle continues, the more obvious it becomes that this is just one massive attempt to extract as much cash out of Irish households as possible. If this latest plan goes ahead, we will be forced to pay Irish Water to repair the shoddy work of their contractors. This is truly the stuff of Alice in Wonderland.
Revelations about the fees emerged in the Sunday papers and Cllr Quinlivan said he first heard of them on his way to Rhebogue that morning in response to what he claimed was “typically shoddy work” from Irish Water contractors that had resulted in flooding and water being cut off to households.
“Residents were asking if these were the same contractors we will have to pay outrageous call-out fees to. In the real world I don’t know of any business where you can be paid to do shoddy work and then paid a second time to come back again to clean up the mess you created in the first place.
“But seemingly in the fantasy world of Irish Water and encouraged by their puppet masters in this Fine Gael/Labour government this rip-off seems to be perfectly acceptable,” said Cllr Quinlivan.
Before a single bill has been issued by the new utility, Cllr Quinlivan said Irish Water was now so “toxic” in the eyes of the public that it needed to be radically reformed along lines previously suggested by Sinn Fein - including the abolition of charges.