The Water Services Innovation Fund Aims to Deliver Benefits For Customers
CRU: The Economic Regulator of Irish Water
The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (the CRU) is a body that was established in 2014 with the aim of being the economic regulator of Irish Water to protect customers. A major task of the CRU was to periodically determine Irish Water’s allowed revenue. This would be through a process that is called ‘revenue review.’ This is in an effort to promote efficient investment by Irish Water so that customers are able to get water and wastewater services at a good value.
Delivering the Best Water to Consumers
The CRU implemented a program aimed at encouraging innovative water developments that in turn deliver the best to the customers. This program is referred to as the Water Services Innovation Fund, which allows Irish Water to invest in innovative water projects. In order to gain from this fund, projects must fulfill at least one of the following conditions:
- The provision of secure, safe and reliable water services;
- Energy savings and cuts during the prices of the provision of water services;
- Increased understanding of customer behavior and their drivers and engagement;
- Mitigation of negative climate change impacts;
- Achievement of relevant environmental standards and the objectives of the Water Framework Directive;
- The provision of water resources in an economical yet efficient manner, and
- Improved conservation of water resources.
Making Well-Informed Decisions
It is worth noting that, part of Irish Water’s allowed revenue for the first interim Irish Water revenue control period (from October 2014 to December 2016), the CRU allowed €4m under this fund program. Moreover, from January 2017 to December 2018 (the second interim Irish Water revenue control period), the CRU decided to allow Irish Water to continue to use the remainder of the Fund. Recently, the CRU decided to extend IRC2 to include 2019. In support of this decision, the CRU also stated that the funds remaining in the Fund at the end of 2018 can be used through 2019 (this is subject to application to the CRU). However, the CRU is bound to publicly consult this in 2018 and make a well-informed decision.