Government dithering dumps uncertainty on consumers
The minority government is showing the Irish consumer two fingers today. Their inability to grasp the nettle and agree a sustainable pricing model for pay by weight bin collection charges tells the consumer that their concerns on price gouging will not be dealt with. Is this Government afraid of confronting the Waste Collection Industry?
It happened for the Guards and Teachers so we are naturally suspicious.
So what are the Pay by Weight Household Waste Charging Arrangements?
You will recall that pay by weight pricing kicked in last July 2016 and the price hikes met with widespread price shock and uproar from consumers. Facing open hostility Minister Simon Coveney caved in and postponed until 2017 these price hikes,offering a price freeze in the interim. Now after very little progress towards an equitable pay by weight pricing system being agreed they have admitted defeat. They intended to gradually phase in the new pricing by showing people in an introductory period what the new pricing would look like, while paying the existing flat rate bills.
But today the current Minister, Denis Naughton TD,confirmed that the 1st of Jan 2017, the planned date for the mandatory introduction of ‘dual pricing’ with and an “opt-in” to pay-per-kilo charges is being deferred.
Why ? He admits now that it does not make sense to require the waste collectors, to dual price against, or to offer opt-ins for the old mandatory per-kilo pricing proposal, because the new rates are not yet agreed.
The new pricing base is the subject of review with industry representatives and regulatory authorities . They have not yet found a more flexible framework of pay-by-weight pricing structures for householders, which will incentivise people to reduce and separate their waste and will enable the collectors to provide more options to help households manage their waste costs, and hopefully see reductions.
Wait and Waste not.
While the work on the review is continuing, the existing agreement with industry representatives remains in place. This means that customers will continue to pay, no more for the same level of charges than they were paying for waste collection before July 2016. Sounds a bit like the water rebate debacle? No movement and no innovation.
This Government u-turn on ‘Pay by Weight’ is bad for consumers and bad for the environment. It means no incentive is offered to consumers to reduce their waste .
Flat rate waste charges is like free water without metering.No one bothers to cut back on waste.
- As we promote our Green island food image, it makes Ireland look very tardy and sloppy to our European partners. The new deferral of ‘Pay by weight’ charges further delays our implementation of the EU Landfill Directive which sought to reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill. This is now a decade overdue.
- This stifles our innovation and retards progress in food digestion, anaerobic digestion, composting activities, which under the current regime are not economically attractive.
We know from experience elsewhere that ‘pay by weight’ reduces the volume of household waste going to landfill and incineration. It saves consumers money, stimulates innovation in food digestion, composting and encourages recycling.
Now is the time to use the intervening few months of this ‘review’ to kick start a national awareness campaign on the benefits of pay by weight. It must bring the public on board with the move, and ensure that waste companies do not engage in unreasonable price hikes.
It wasn’t done for Water charging so will lessons have been learned? The Jury’s out on this.