Page last updated at 05:19 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 06:19 UK

Businesses face water charge rise

Water meter
NI Water is installing meters at non-domestic premises

Northern Ireland Water has announced a number of price increases for its non-domestic customers.

Bills were introduced last April, and a phased-in 50% sewerage charges discount for metered customers is ending.

NI Water spokesman William Duddy said they recognised the increases came "at a challenging time" for businesses.

Last November, the NI Executive used £400m of a funding boost from Prime Minister Gordon Brown to defer domestic water charges for another year.

NI Water is to shortly issue its 2009 bills to about 90,000 customers, and it has announced a number of changes:

  • Business customers using a water meter face an annual increase in charges
  • Sewerage charges introduced last year at 50% will now have to be paid in full
  • A new domestic sewerage allowance (190 cubic metres) will be introduced for customers who pay rates on their property. The domestic allowance for water, 200 cubic metres, will continue to apply where rates are paid
  • Unmeasured customers, charged on the basis of Net Annual Value applied for rating purposes, will continue to be billed at 50% for both water and sewerage on the new 2009/10 tariff, with the total charge for each capped at £405
  • Charges based on how much treatment needs to be carried out on trade waste have been revised.

Mr Duddy said: "The changes, along with annual increases which apply to both measured and unmeasured customers, have all been agreed by the Utility Regulator and in consultation with the Consumer Council."

The government-owned company said they were in the final stages of installing meters, where possible, at all non-domestic customer premises.

Non-domestic customers include businesses, farms, industrial users, voluntary organisations and charities, public bodies, churches and properties not used for residential purposes.

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