Refunds due as Group Water Scheme subsidies restored to pre-2015 levels

Group scheme members now entitled to retrospective refunds

Group Water Scheme subsidies restored to pre-2015 levels

Group Water Scheme subsidies restored to pre-2015 levels

Correspondence circulated by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to Local Authorities before the New Year has indicated that Group Water Scheme subsidies are to be restored to pre-2015 levels.

The retrospective restoration covers the period from January 2015 to June 30, 2016. 

In 2015, the subsidies payable towards operational costs of group water schemes were reduced, a move reflective of the new Irish Water charging system introduced at that time.

An announcement of the suspension of water charges in 2016 and subsequent delivery of refunds to public supply customers meant the Department had to deal with the subsidy caps imposed at the commencment of water charging. 

A principle of equity and fairness has therefore been applied to the Water Services Act (2017), which paved the way for public refunds, in order to reinstate pre-2015 Group Water Scheme subsidies.

That means that Group Water Scheme members will benefit as these levels are retrospectively restored, meaning they can apply re-collect any incurred overpayment. 

Local authorities have now been given the go ahead to make such supplementary payments based on subsidy claims made by group water schemes during the period outlined, January 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016. 

The principal beneficiaries will be schemes whose expenditure during those 18 months would normally have entitled them to draw down the full €140 or €70 subsidy amounts.

These will receive €67.50 in the case of privately sourced domestic connections group water schemes and €45 for householders on publicly sourced supplies. 

Where expenditure would have entitled schemes to a sum between the reduced subsidy and the restored maximum, the exact amount of that shortfall will be repaid. 

The refund payments are expected to be passed on to qualifying schemes in early January and schemes will then be expected to pass these on to their members, as this is the intention of the measure.

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