NI Water announce 13.4 per cent hike in non-domestic water charges
From April 1, NI Water said measured customer bills will rise by 12.7 per cent, while unmeasured and trade effluent bills will rise by 13.7 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.
NI WATER will hike charges for businesses and non-domestic premises from this weekend in response to “significant financial pressures”.
The government-owned company confirmed non-domestic water and sewerage charges will rise by an average of 13.4 per cent from April 1.
Unlike domestic households, where water charges are subsidised by the Department for Infrastructure, non-domestic properties in the north, from farms and business premises to schools and hospitals, are charged for the water they use and discharge into the public sewerage system.
NI Water said measured customer bills will rise by 12.7 per cent, while unmeasured and trade effluent bills will rise by 13.7 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.
The organisation’s finance director, Ronan Larkin, said: “We are aware how challenging the environment can be for local businesses within the economy right now.
“In previous years, we have been able to limit the non-domestic price increase to strike a balance between generating sufficient income and minimising the impact on business customers.
“Whilst NI Water has again absorbed as much cost as possible, the company is facing significant financial pressures from rising energy prices and other cost increases.”
The consumer price index (CPI) is now the most accepted marker for UK inflation, but some aspects of government still use the retail price index (RPI) as measure of inflation.
UK CPI inflation rose to 10.4 per cent in February, while RPI stood at 13.8 per cent last month.
Announcing the price rise on Tuesday, NI Water cited RPI in November 2022, which stood at 14 per cent.
“We have worked hard to ensure most of our customers will see their bills rise by less than inflation,” said Mr Larkin.
“Specific bill changes operate according to a formula agreed with the Northern Ireland Utility Regulator.”
A lack of investment in the north’s wastewater infrastructure has left many areas at capacity levels, which has impacted planning and development decisions.
“It is well documented that NI Water needs to receive full funding to ensure we continue to deliver a water and sewerage service that represents good value for money,” continued Ronan Larkin.
“The revenue from bills will help support necessary investment in our infrastructure, benefitting the local economy and environment.
“However, even with full funding and bill increases, historic underinvestment will take in the region of 12 to 18 years to remedy.
“NI Water is mindful of the impact of price rises,” he continued “It is therefore important that customers who may need extra help with their bill communicate with us as soon as possible.
“Our billing team will be on hand to offer guidance, including payment breaks or longer repayment plans.
“We have enhanced our online self-service portal with a smarter navigation to help provide a better experience when paying a bill, managing account(s), or viewing water consumption details.”