A new system of charges for non-domestic water users, which will see bills increase for more than half of customers, is to come into force from the middle of next year.

The start of the revised Irish Water tariffs was postponed in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) said it has set a new date of May 1 2021 for the introduction of the charges.

The CRU claims the new structure will be simpler, fairer and more transparent for 183,479 non-domestic customers.

However, nearly  54% of customers will see their bills increase as a result of the changes.

If a customer is facing a large bill increase over €250, a three-year transition arrangement will be put in place by Irish Water to assist them.

"The CRU recognises the challenges that businesses continue to face and is giving as much advance warning as possible to facilitate business planning," said Laura Brien, CRU's Director of Water.

"As businesses around the country restart their operations, they should face similar tariffs for water and wastewater based on the real costs of providing those services. "

The new system aims to simplify the current arrangements, where there are over 500 separate charges for water and waste-water services to non-domestic customers.

Under the current structure similar businesses are charged different rates for the same service, depending on where they are located.

"The CRU considers that these new tariffs will bring benefits to customers, as businesses re-open following closures to meet public health guidelines," said Mr Brien. 

"While some customers will see a bill increase, consideration for those customers who will see a decrease in their bill was also one of the important factors that the CRU, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Irish Water took into consideration."