March Findings from the Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group
Trend shows residential waste collection costs remain stable but market providers need to intensify engagement with consumers on complex pricing structures.
Drop in Service Charge (incl. weight allowance) plus per KG Charge for Excess above Allowance.
Monday, April 16th, 2018
Key findings from March '18 market analysis:
The cost homeowners pay for the collection of household waste remained broadly stable in the month of March compared to a month earlier. This is despite the advance notice given by some providers of their intention to introduce Green Bin or waste recycling charges beginning April 2018.
The Price Monitoring Group, which was established to monitor the cost of residential household waste collection during the phasing out of Flat Rate services, monitors 26 service providers. This comprises 19 individual companies with several of those being monitored in more than one area.
Similar to previous month's findings, there continues to be no single or uniform price arrangement across all of the service providers monitored; some service providers offer a variety of different waste collection packages to homeowners.
Because of this, when the total number of waste collection providers and the various collection packages are combined, a total of 39 different service offers were identified and verified in March, this is two less than the previous month and a fall of 6 from a peak of 45 identified in the December monitoring (a full breakdown of all service offers is attached).
Range of pricing models available
Many waste collection companies offer a range of price plans. However, the Group has observed that waste collection office staff may sometimes struggle to effectively and efficiently fully disclose prices when contacted by phone. This is a concern to the Group as it means that some consumers may be unable to compare the market for the best prices.
Better staff training necessary for consistent disclosure to consumers
In situations where office staff may have taken longer than expected to provide price details, the Group used company websites to confirm prices. However, the Group is aware not all companies provide prices on their websites and not all consumers will have internet access, or are comfortable with this mode of comparison. Therefore, it is important that all waste collection companies ensure staff that is responsible for answering consumer calls or maintaining websites are adequately trained to provide this information quickly and efficiently.
Complex Price Models
Across all of the companies monitored, there are 9 different price models. This is the same number recorded in February.
Examples of price models include: Service charge plus per kg weight charge; E-tag, Flat Rate and other options.
In a slight reversal, there has been a drop in what had been the fastest growing price model; Service Charge (incl weight allowance) plus per KG Charge for Excess above Allowance. Service providers had been offering this particular price model to householders at an increasing rate. For example, in December, 11 companies offered this price model, in January, 13 companies did and in February, this had grown to 18 but in March, this decreased by 2. The number of service providers offering flat-rate collection services remains at three, this is the same number as the previous month.
Price movements within the most popular service
The most popular price model across all of the service providers monitored is the Service Charge (including weight allowance) plus per KG Charge for Excess above Allowance package. 16 waste collection providers now offer this service. This represents a drop of 2 from the previous month. When we examined and compared the companies that also offered this service in February, prices have remained overwhelmingly stable except for just a few small movements:
1. Service provider T, Monthly service charge decreased from €24.95 to €24.92
2. Service provider Y, Monthly service charge increased from €26.00 to €29.86
3. Service provider Z, Monthly Per KG Waste Charge decreased from €.25 to €.18
Compost lift price announcement
One other area where a price was introduced for the first time was under the E-tag option. There are 2 service providers offering E-tag. One service provider began quoting for a €9 compost lift charge in March. This is the first time this company quoted for a compost lift charge. Another service provider offering the E-tag option has said it provides a free compost lift.
Why some information is anonymised
The purpose of the group is to gain a broad understanding of whether or not prices are fluctuating and if they are, by how much. The Price Monitoring Group was not established to provide a price comparison service; this would require whole-of-market monitoring of the sixty plus household waste collectors in the country across the different areas they provide a service, accordingly, the outcomes are published on an anonymised basis.
More efficient price disclosure
As already identified, the primary focus of the Price Monitoring Group is to assess, record and report price movement for the collection of household waste. However, the Group has some concerns at the time it takes some providers to disclose their prices either over the phone or on their websites.
Composition of the PMG
The group comprises representatives from:
- Waste Policy & Resource Efficiency Division
- An economist from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment,
- A statistician from the Central Statistics Office.
- Shelfwatch – an independent price monitoring group and
- Frank Conway, Chair - an independent consumer expert.
To date, the Price Monitoring Group has met on seven occasions:
13th September 2017
11th October 2017
14th November 2017
12th December 2017
9th January 2018
13th February 2018
13th March 2018
10th April 2018.
Submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note this email has been put in place to facilitate the submission of relevant price information to the Group. The Group will consider all submission that can help inform it in respect to prices residential users pay for the collection of residential waste. Unfortunately, the Group is not in a position to respond to individual submissions at this time.