Manufacturing boost as water charges fall

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy (left) and Trevor Haslett (right), NI Water Chief Executive last year
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy (left) and Trevor Haslett (right), NI Water Chief Executive last year

A fall in the charges for water paid by businesses across the province will help increase Northern Ireland’s export competitiveness the body representing manufacturing said yesterday.

Responding to the announcement from NI Water that it is to decrease charges for the second time in two years, Manufacturing Northern Ireland (MNI) chief executive Stephen Kelly said: “Today’s announcement will help narrow the competitiveness gap which local manufacturers have in export markets.”

“This is good news for business, particularly those in the food sector who require a large volume of clean water in their processes which includes regularly washing down machinery.

Following on from a fall last year of 2.5 per cent in charges for non-domestic customers, NI Water said that charges would fall by an average of four per cent from April 1.

Director of finance and regulation, Ronan Larkin said:

“This is excellent news for our customers particularly coming at a time when many are experiencing difficult financial times.

“In real terms, taking into account inflation, this further reduction means that our non-domestic customers will be paying 11.7 per cent less for their water and sewerage services than they did two years ago.

“As a business ourselves we realise the importance of keeping costs down and we hope that for our thousands of non-domestic customers including farmers, small businesses and industry this reduction in charges will be good news.

Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy said: “In these difficult economic times, any financial relief for businesses is always very welcome.

“This reduction has been made possible by NI Water’s success in making improvements in efficiency.

“I want to congratulate the staff and management on their continuing efforts to assist their 90,000 non-domestic customers by keeping costs low.”

Mr Kelly said he hoped the Executive would now follow the lead shown and move to help businesses suffering from some of the highest energy costs in Europe.

“Most manufacturing companies are usually charged twice for water. Clean water in and a further cost for discharge back into the water system.

“We would hope that NI Water continue to make efficiencies which will result in further decreases in coming years.

“We would like to see similar efficiencies being taken by all utilities and our Executive to help create the most competitive region in Europe to start, sustain and invest in business thus creating wealth and work.”