Last Updated on Thursday, 6 October, 2022 at 1:44 pm by Andre Camilleri
A new utility bill system will see 80% of Automated Revenue Management Services Ltd (ARMS) consumers receive a refund of up to €8 a year for overcharging due to inconsistency of legal notice passed in 2009.
The new legal notice for the revised system will be published on 10 October, the government announced today.
The revised system will apply retroactively to water and electricity consumption from 1 January 2022.
The system ensures that any unutilised units in the individual bands will be refunded in a subsequent bill. This is being done because these units are currently being lost.
ARMS Ltd CEO, Silvio Scerri explained how the revised billing issue will be issuing bills every two months while giving adjustments for the previous months for any unused units. He said that the consumption of eco-reduction will be calculated every two months rather than it is calculated at the end of the year.
He also said that the utility bills will retain the same format, however, they will now include two new lines: the adjustment of the electricity consumption in euros and the adjustment of the water consumption in euros.
He clarified that those households that have constant monthly consumption are likely to get minimal or zero adjustments.
Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli said that this new system will prevent consumers from losing money from any unutilised units.
She said that these amendments are being implemented after many technical tests were done to identify and resolve the inconsistencies with the 2009 legal notice.
A court judgement earlier this year revealed that the billing method used by ARMS was in fact resulting in the illegal over-charging of consumers. This court judgment ruled in favour of compensation.
The Nationalist Party has declared that it will be taking the government to court over the way in which people’s utility bills have been charged, and pledged to repay consumers.
The spokesperson for energy and enterprise, Mark Anthony Sammut, had predicted that the money which the government will refund will not be from when the mechanism was implemented but from the beginning of this year.
When asked about whether people will be refunded for the overcharging over the years, she replied that ARMS issued the bills according to the legal notice of 2009, passed by the Nationalist government. This is why the current government needed to change to the law to address this issue.
She further said how ARMS was appealing the decision of the court judgment.