Northern Ireland holds off water bills and defers rises for businesses

Northern Ireland’s infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has announced that water and sewerage bills for business customers will be held back until July in an initiative designed to help businesses during the Covid-19 emergency.

Publicly-owned NI Water’s planned annual increase of 1.7% in the non-domestic water and sewerage tariff will also be deferred and reviewed in the autumn. As a result, the company’s funding is being reprofiled.

Mallon said: “To make these changes possible and ensure NI Water’s cashflow, my department will be reprofiling its funding arrangements with the company for the coming months.

“I am pleased to have had the co-operation and support of other key stakeholders including the utility regulator and Consumer Council NI and I am hopeful that these measures will provide some relief to our business community.”

NI Water director of finance and regulation, Ronan Larkin, confirmed these moves. “We have decided to temporarily postpone the issuing of all water and sewerage bills during April, May and June 2020. With many businesses now closed, or having significantly curtailed their activities, this will alleviate the concerns many may have had in relation to accessing and paying their bill.”