The Malta Independent 17 August 2022, Wednesday

New legal notice for ARMS bills ‘being finalised,’ Energy Ministry says

Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 14:14 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise is finalising all the aspects to put into force a new Legal Notice regulating utility bills, as promised in the Budget for this year, the Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement came after a court ruled that ARMS Ltd had been overcharging a customer by following a practice which was in breach with subsidiary legislation on how bills should be calculated.

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“The amended Legal Notice and new system are expected to come into force in the coming weeks, effective as of January 2022,” the Ministry said.

The Ministry said that the current Legal Notice was introduced in 2009, and that the only change since then has been the 25% reduction in bills.

However, the Nationalist Party said in reaction to the judgement that the government had started using a different method in 2014 – which is what the court found to be in breach of the 2009 legislation.

 “In the Budget 2022, the government made a clear commitment that the Legal Notice regulating the computation of electricity and water bills will be amended,” the Ministry said.

The Ministry added that this new system, consumers will be banking the cheaper units, to be used when consumption increases.

“The Court’s ruling issued in the last hours will be analysed, and what was promised in this year’s budget should in no way prejudice any action that may still be taken. It is this government that truly protects the consumers and has shown credibility in the energy sector,” the Ministry said.

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli had first pledged the updated legal notice in January of this year, saying that the changes were close to being finalised – but no such changes have been made since.

A National Audit Office report had calculated that consumers had been overcharged by around €4.6 million on their electricity bills owing to the way in which ARMS was calculating bills.

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