Written answers

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Energy Prices

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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350. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will engage with utility providers in relation to water and electricity connection and reconnection fees; if he will request a reduction in such fees for a stated window of time for first-time buyers subject to an occupancy clause of seven years as a measure to help incentivise the renovation of currently uninhabited or derelict properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62912/21]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Government policy in relation to electricity matters is led by the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications and electricity connection charges and charging arrangements are subject to independent regulation by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning and delivery. Irish Water's charging policies, including in relation to connection charges, are subject to approval by the CRU, in its statutory role as the independent economic regulator of Irish Water.

Part V of the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013, in particular sets out the CRU's responsibility for the determination of the charges, including connection charges, and charging arrangements, that apply to customers of Irish Water. The CRU determination on the appropriate charges and charging arrangements that apply to new network connections are set out in its detailed decision paper on Connection Charging available on its website at www.cru.ie. My Department has no role in the matter.

As part of Housing for All, the Government has committed to a range of actions as part of the pathway to address vacancy ensuring the efficient use of housing stock. Addressing vacancy and maximising the use of existing housing stock is a primary concern of this Government and the new Housing for All Strategy outlines a multi-faceted approach to addressing this matter, including:

- A new local authority-led programme to help Local Authorities buy or compulsory purchase 2,500 vacant homes in their areas which can then be sold on the open market will ensure homes don’t lie vacant.

- Reform of the Fair Deal Scheme to remove disincentives to selling or renting unused homes.

- The Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund will be delivered by local authorities for the provision of serviced sites for housing, to attract people to build their own homes and to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, enabling people to live in small towns and villages, in a sustainable way.

- A new Town Centre First policy, which will include approaches to utilising existing stock and new financial incentive mechanisms.

These measures are in addition to the vacant property tax and vacant site tax being pursued by the Department of Finance.


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