Irish Water collected just over a quarter of what it expected as floods of householders failed to pay their water bills in the wake of the Government's decision to suspend charges.
The utility collected just €18.3m during the fifth billing cycle, which covered the period between January and March.
This is almost half of the €33.4m collected in the final three months of 2015 and just over a quarter of the €66m which the utility would expect to collect in any billing cycle.
It means Irish Water is now facing a serious funding shortfall, which will have to be filled from general taxation as no more bills will be issued this year.
Bills for the first quarter of 2016 were issued in April and May, just as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were negotiating the deal that resulted in the formation of Enda Kenny's minority Government.
In order to secure Fianna Fáil's tacit support, the Taoiseach agreed to set up a commission to look at whether water charges should be abolished. It will take five months to study a variety of funding models.
However, it has already been mired in controversy after chairman Joe O'Toole resigned as Opposition parties complained he was not impartial.
The commission's report will be debated by an Oireachtas committee before the Dáil votes on its recommendations.
In total, 989,000 households have paid water charges at some stage over the past five billing cycles. This includes 14,000 new customers this year.
However, Irish Water refuses to reveal the breakdown of how many households have paid their bills in each cycle.
In a statement, the company said it had been reassured that any shortfall in income due to the suspension of charges would be covered by the Exchequer.
"This will allow Irish Water to continue to deliver on its business plan," it said, adding that customers remained liable for any outstanding amounts due.
"There is no change to water service charges for business customers as they are unaffected by the suspension of domestic water charges," the company said.
Irish Water plans to spend €5.5bn between 2013 and 2021 on the network, including upgrading and replacing plants, water mains and sewers, as well as eliminating leaks and lead piping.
Reacting to the figures, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Mick Barry said they showed a widespread boycott. "This is a massive rejection of the charges, and people are sending a clear message to the Government and Simon Coveney that they want to see them scrapped.
"Over the last 18 months we have said that there were many people who only paid because they felt bullied or intimidated into it by the Government and Irish Water's threats.
"Now that the fear is gone, this level of non-payment reflects how people really feel on the issue," he said.
Mr Barry said the "writing is on the wall" for Irish Water and the Government needed to "accept defeat".
Original article: Kevin Doyle, Irish Independent, July 12, 2016