Irish Water have been busy installing water meters across Naas for the past few months, however it looks as though they will now move on leaving many properties still un-metered. In some of the older parts of Naas, Irish Water did not install meters due to the nature of the pipework and so those residents will instead now receive estimated bills.
The problem had been raised with me by residents in the Sarto and Pacelli road areas and I’ve started to investigate this. A few people contacted me to say that Irish Water had been around but had not been able or perhaps not willing to put a meter into their houses. The problem with that is then people can only receive estimated bills when the charges kick in, which has potential to be unfair and does not provide peace of mind.
The problem here seems to be that some of the older housing stock has the water main running behind the houses, through the back gardens, and Irish Water are not prepared to go onto private property to install the meters. Mostly they install the meter underneath the footpath outside and they never have to cross the boundary it seems.
I’ve started to raise this issue with both Irish Water and Naas Town Council.
What I’ve been told is that the current rollout is only phase one of the operation. This apparently is the big sweep to get the majority of meters put in place. They will be returning in phases one and two for the less straightforward cases. The plan seems to be that everyone would get a meter. However the residents have to put up with estimated bills in the meantime and I think that has great capacity for unfairness. Residents want peace of mind as to what kind of bills to expect and at least a meter provides for that. The added stress of an estimated bill is not ideal.
It may be that when they do come back they install internal water meters, rather than digging up the roads again. One possibility for the back garden piping systems would be to install a little meter inside the house instead. This would avoid the need to dig up the road again and would also allow residents keep an eye on their usage. Whatever the solution, I have asked the council and Irish Water to ensure phase two follows before too long and keep any usage of estimated bills to the absolute minimum.