The introduction of a new system of charges for non-domestic water users, which will see bills increase for more than half of customers, has been delayed again.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has agreed a second postponement of the implementation of Irish Water's new non-domestic tariffs.
The new tariffs will now apply to all of Irish Water's non-domestic customers from October of this year.
The new tariffs start date was originally postponed last March with a revised start date of May 1 to assist businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the CRU said that due to the further restrictions imposed in in January and with many businesses still closed, a decision has been taken to defer the new tariff framework implementation.
The decision was taken by the CRU in conjunction the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Irish Water.
The CRU said a three-year transition arrangement will be put in place by Irish Water to assist customers who may be faced with a large annual bill increase and any annual bill increase above €250 will be spread over three years.
Any customer facing an annual bill increase of over €750 will also have the increase capped at 10% per year for the duration of the three-year transition.
Paul McGowan, CRU Commissioner with responsibility for Water Regulation, said the new tariff framework will be a positive development for the sector and a more equitable solution for all non-domestic water customers.
But he said that due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, a high percentage of businesses are closed and may not be in a position to receive relevant communications from Irish Water in advance of the change to their tariff.
The CRU has concluded that postponing the introduction of the new tariffs until October is the most appropriate course of action to take in these circumstances," he added.