If you run a business, a farm, a charity, a social enterprise or any other non-domestic water user, your organisation's charges are going to change from today.

Why are they changing?

Before Irish Water took over responsibilities for water services from local authorities in 2014, water and wastewater charges were set and collected at local level.

That means that there are more than 500 separate charges for the provision of water and wastewater across the country in 44 different areas.

So the authorities decided it was time to simplify that by putting in place a more uniform standardised structure for the whole country.

These were approved by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) in 2019 and were due to come into effect in May of last year.

Irish Water also says there has been no change to water charges for businesses since 2014 and in many counties it is a decade or more.

So why didn’t they?

In short, the pandemic hit.

Irish Water, in consultation with the CRU and Department of Housing decided that businesses were facing enough difficulties.

So in March as the pandemic began to bite, they decided to defer the introduction, with May 1 of this year set as the new date for implementation.

But that was later deferred again because of the ongoing restrictions due to Covid-19, with October 1 set as the new date.

What will the charges mean for my business?

164,000 customers with a combined 183,000 water and wastewater connections will be impacted by the changes.

The new system will introduce four bands based on the level of consumption of the customer.

According to Irish Water, 54% will see their bills increase, with 46% of customers set to see their charges fall under the new system.

Of those whose bills will rise, 50.4% will have to pay less than €250 extra a year, 1.6% will pay between €250 and €500 more, 1.5% will see their bills increase by between €500 and €5,000 and just 0.2% will have to pay €5,000 or more extra per annum.

You can assess the impact of the new charges on your bill using an online calculator at www.water.ie.

My business is only small. That seems like a lot to me?

To help customers, Irish Water says it has put in place a number of important support measures.

Connections that see an increase of €250 or more will be transitioned to the new tariffs over three years.

For connections that will face an increase of €750 or more, it will automatically apply a 10% cap to their annual bill increase in any one year.

The utility says that customers who may be experiencing billing or payment difficulties can contact its dedicated business team on 0818 778 778.