Water charges to rise by 3% for 80,000 businesses
NORTHERN Ireland Water has announced it is hike up charges for its 80,000 business customers from next month.
NI Water will increase non-domestic water and sewerage charges by 3.35 per cent on average from April 1. The rise is twice the amount implemented last year and will add an additional £111 to the annual bill of a "medium factory". NI Water has said it had the option to increase tariffs by up to 4.6 per cent , but decided on a more moderate jump in part due to additional sustainable cost savings already secured.
NI Water director of finance and regulation, Ronan Larkin said:
"In limiting the increase in this way, we have sought to strike a balance between our need to generate sufficient income to allow us to continue delivering our services and minimising impact on business customers. NI Water, like other businesses, has been impacted by rising electricity costs and other cost increases outside our control. Whilst the cost of providing water and sewerage services to our customers has risen, we have been able to absorb some of these and minimise the increase in our tariffs."
“This rise coupled with our decision to limit rises in the previous two years, means businesses will still be paying less, in real terms, for their water and sewerage services than they did at the start of our Price Control 2015 period," he added.
Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said the latest increase in water charges is unwelcome.
"The hospitality industry uses a high volume of water and this increase places an additional burden on our already heavily taxed hospitality sector and adds to costs for publicans, restaurateurs and hoteliers across the province. This latest increase must be taken in the context of a rise earlier this month of 1.5 per cent in business rates for Northern Ireland."
The Consumer Council has urged business to contact them to undertake a free water bill health check. The council says this will help businesses understand their water bill and ensure they are receiving the correct allowances.