Monday, 30 September 2013

First Fix Free

Minister Hogan still working out the details of "first fix free"
The introduction of water charges and domestic water meters is something a lot of people are very concerned about.  Water is a an extremely valuable natural resource and we must protect it.  I am opposed to the Governments approach with regards to the introduction of domestic water metering.  Their decision to go after hard pressed homeowners first is unfair.  The Government should be first prioritizing the security of supply and fixing the existing leaks before asking people to pay for an unreliable and leaky water network.   In June 2013 Minister Hogan promised the Government would pay to fix leaks found in homes. Irish Water and Dublin City Council have both told me they have no  information on Minister Hogans promise to pay to fix leaks in peoples homes.  At the September 2013 meeting of Dublin City Council I called on Minister Hogan to tell people how they can get access to his promised "first fix free" scheme.    I have called on Minister Hogan to provide people with information on his promised "first fix free" policy but his office has advised me that he is still working on it.  It seems like a lot of this Governments previous promises, their "first fix free" promise is another empty promise. I also asked the City Manager to provide me with a report on how many domestic units Dublin City Council surveyed for the purposes of the installation of domestic water meters, how many of the units surveyed were found to have leaks and if the leaks were on the home-owner side or supply side. I have also asked what arrangements are in place for “first leak free” service to home-owners.   The Manager advised me that "Dublin City Council, Water Services Division, has surveyed approximately 60,000 domestic units as of 4th September 2013. The purpose of the survey is only to identify the location of existing stop cock covers on public water supplies to residential properties. No leak location is carried out during the survey. The surveyor does report where there is water in or adjacent to the stopcock/ boundary box. This may indicate the possibility of a leak but is not in itself sufficient to confirm actual leakage. All matters relating to the proposed metering or meter installation contract, including the possibility of a “first leak free” policy, are being managed by Irish Water directly."  Irish Water will start installing domestic water meters later this month in Dublin City.  Mary