The Irish Water (meters) thread


There were several options for using existing billing/collection authorities that did not involve throwing absurd amounts of money at professional services parasites, but that wouldn’t have satisfied FG’s desire to prepare for future privatisation of Irish Water.


Of course they would have. But I’m sure not as many would have though. Optics play a big role in the whole thing.


Why hasn’t FG used the last 6 years in government to privatise BGE or the ESB then?

Why did the Water Services Act 2014 include a clause which committed a future government to a plebiscite in advance of any future sale of water assets?


What’s wrong with privatisation?



They did. In March 2014 Bord Gáis was sold for €1.1Billion and Bord Gáis Energy is now a private limited company that is part of the Centrica Group.

Ireland now has one of the highest gas prices in Europe.


Privatisation of a natural monopoly is stupid.


Like food?


No. Food is not delivered through underground pipes


Brendan Ogle and his successors in the ESB unions.


It still has to be delivered one way or the other.

Water should be privatized like any other commodity.


Nice cut down. Agree 100%,.
Where I live there are two major fossil fuel vendors, one public, one private . The govt has ultimate say on the pricing and vendors are limited in any increase although it floats broadly with general oil and gas market. Govt here sees it’s job as keeping basic costs down as they know where their bread is buttered.

Somehow except for water people in Ireland arent active on these issues and govt in Ireland seems to think it’s job is to continually rack up prices .


I am genuinely interested in how you think water supply should be privatized, and what benefits you think it would bring, compared to putting similar levels of effort into restructuring of a publicly owned system.


He could watch an oligarch buy shares and get rich as prices go up and then dream of being that oligarch some day.


I can substitute electric heating for gas heating, or if I really want gas, I can substitute bottled butane from Calor for piped methane from Centrica. Similarly, I can substitute lamb for salmon or rice for potatoes.

What should I substitute for clean water?

For most people, a supply of reasonably microbe-free water is as close to a natural monopoly as makes no difference. If it were to be privatised, the only workable solutions (lightly chlorinated aqueous ones, of course :wink: ) would be either a highly regulated oligopoly with massive government oversight, such as exists for electricity supply in countries like the UK, or else a monopoly that is so highly regulated as to be functionally indistinguishable from a nationalised company.

A public infrastructure company providing services to numerous private supply companies might just about work, like DHL, Fedex, Securispeed and TNT using publicly funded roads, which is somewhat like the model to which the half arsed rail privatisation in the UK has finally settled, but I’m still not convinced it adds much to the mix. Even the very successful privatisation of telecoms has relied on maintaining government bodies regulating access to the electromagnetic radiation spectrum and then also needs the courts and government squashing cartels.

This is an entirely separate question from charges and metering. I am strongly in favour of people paying more for water to reflect the cost of providing it and I am agnostic, but favourably disposed towards metered per-use charging for the same reason. I’m just not in favour of handing the money raised to a certain non-resident oik.


In case you haven’t noticed, public ownership of water has been a complete shambles. So I’m genuinely interested in how you think public ownership can be transformed provide us with clean water at affordable price?


They would be nothing stopping you from buying shares so you too could become rich!


No, I don’t know that public ownership of water has been a complete shambles, considering the amount invested in it (or not). Maybe it’s been good value for money.

Is your argument for privatisation that private ownership couldn’t be any worse?


People get very excited about the ownership of the assets in a natural monopoly.

It doesn’t matter much once the regulatory framework is strong and it is well implemented.

CIÉ is 100% state-owned but provides an atrocious service because it is barely regulated. People assume that ‘soft’ political direction and state funding will achieve desired objectives. They don’t.

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of Irish people use privately-owned toll roads every day. This doesn’t bother anyone because the regulatory framework is strong:
-The owner cannot arbitrarily keep you off the road
-Toll charges cannot be increased too much
-They revert to state ownership after 30 years or whatever

Almost all excitement on this topic can ultimately be traced back to trade unions. For example a few years back there were plans to sell harvesting rights to Coillte forests and the unions ran a clever, totally spurious campaign suggesting that access rights to walkers would be limited.


No, you’re wrong.

Here’s a thread I started on it from 2010.