Supermacs owner Pat McDonagh said the water hookup charges put a “grip” on commercial development, saying he was quoted € 720,000 to connect a motorway service spot he developed.
His comments follow similar criticism from some politicians and the Construction Industry Federation, which has suggested that Irish Water seeks to fund its work through high levies on companies.
Mr McDonagh said the € 720,000 quote he received for water and wastewater connections for the Kinnegad Plaza at the junction of the M4 and M6 motorways was a multiple of his own estimate. entrepreneur of € 170,000.
He indicated that after discussions with Irish Water on the required standards, road opening permits and development costs, the two parties settled on an invoice of € 272,750, the work being carried out by the Irish Water licensed contractor.
However, Mr McDonagh said he was still concerned about the opaque nature of the process and the gap of almost € 450,000 between the first quote and the final invoice. He said the comparable cost of sewage and infrastructure costs at his place in Portlaoise was € 292,400, but the distance for the connecting pipe was “only five meters” versus “over 300”. meters’ to Kinnegad.
“These accusations make people think. I think it’s absolutely a stranglehold on development. People are pushing back on business developments as they try to see how realistic it is at the moment, ”he said, adding that he was concerned about the potential costs of similar new developments, like the one from Tuam, County Galway.
The initial costs
The federation criticized the costs involved in Irish Water connections, a spokesperson saying this was particularly the case in housing estates where Irish Water asked for connection charges “in full and in advance”. He said the requirement forces banks to consider whether certain projects are viable.
In a pre-budget submission, the federation called on the government to increase funding for Irish Water by € 2 billion per year so that commercial customers do not bear the brunt of financing the state’s water infrastructure.
A number of members of the Oireachtas housing committee criticized Irish Water for its business connections last month. Senator Mary Fitzpatrick said members of local authorities, members of the public and stakeholders have repeatedly told her that one of the main obstacles to increasing the supply of housing is the lack of infrastructure for water and wastewater treatment.
In response, Irish Water said the utility faces a legacy of different pricing regimes and standards for connections. Before its creation, there were 57 different pricing regimes with over 900 different connection charges in the 31 local authorities.
Irish Water said its national connection pricing policy ‘went into effect’ on April 1, 2019 and included a single set of standard connection charges for connections up to 10m from the property line, additional charges apply when the distance is greater.
These additional charges are calculated based on the average of the tariffs of the eight approved regional utility contractors and “are calculated fairly based on the required construction work, such as soil conditions, other utilities or utilities. in the region, traffic management requirements, materials required, health and safety considerations, permits to open roads, and road rehabilitation requirements ”.
Irish Water said it was working with the construction industry to develop an accreditation program for freestanding contractors.
“This will ensure that the mistakes of the past do not happen again, avoiding legacy issues such as leaks, environmental issues and customer impacts. “