Irish Water is installing meters supplied by companies in the United States and Germany as it emerged that no Irish company tendered for the contract.
The utility has also confirmed that, where possible, it will reuse water meters that had already been installed before it’s programme began in 2013 but in most cases, expects to replace existing units.
The company confirmed: “There are two suppliers of water meters for the Irish Water Metering programme, Diehl and Itron. The contracts were advertised and awarded in full compliance with EU public procurement rules.”
“Contracts were awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender criterion. No Irish company responded to the tender process. We cannot give the per unit cost as this is commercially sensitive,” the spokeswoman said.
Last month, Irish Water confirmed that the design lifespan of its domestic water meter is about 15 years.
“This depends on its usage being within normal domestic use operational limits and factors such as the quality of water passing through the meters,” the company said.
The first phase of the domestic metering programme began in August 2013 and will be completed by mid-2016. To date, over 500,000 meters have been installed with as many 33,000 installations being completed every month.
Irish Water has also committed to reusing previously installed meters where possible but will have to dispose of units that are not compatible with their meter reading technologies.
“Existing water meters and meter boxes have typically been installed as a condition of planning. In some cases the planning authority only requested a meter box be installed, while in other cases the installation of a meter box and meter was required,” according to the company.
“Irish Water is committed to reusing previously installed meter boxes where possible. Our contractors examine each case to establish if existing meter boxes can be reused. In most cases we expect to replace an existing meter with a new meter that is compatible with our meter reading technologies.
Where it is not possible to reuse them, for example due to insufficient depth of cover, the metre box is removed and replaced. Where existing meter boxes and meters are removed they are disposed of in the most sustainable manner possible,” the company stated.
As of last week, 1.1 million households, of the 1.9m in the State, had registered their details with Irish Water ahead of the commencement of billing April.
Approximately 79% of those registered, or 869,000 households, are on the public water main and therefore customers of Irish Water.