PN invites consumers to join utility bills class action lawsuit, promising to cover all legal expenses

PN is launching a class action lawsuit against ARMS over the utility bills overcharge

PN MPs Mark Anthony Sammut (left) and Ryan Callus
PN MPs Mark Anthony Sammut (left) and Ryan Callus

The Nationalist Party invited all those overcharged for their utility bills to join their class action lawsuit, promising to cover all legal expenses.

During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, PN MP and Energy spokesperson Mark Anthony Sammut said the party was giving an opportunity to the consumers that were “robbed” through their utility bills to take part in a class action lawsuit and demand a refund for the overcharge.

On Monday PN leader Bernard Grech's announced that the party would be launching a class action lawsuit against the government over the utility bills issued in the past eight years.

Sammut said that despite Joseph Muscat’s admission four years ago that the bill mechanism was faulty, the “unjust” system was still in place.

Back in May 2021, the PN had launched a campaign for the refunding of overcharged utility bills, inviting those affected by overcharges to register interest in receiving compensation.

The issue revolves around the billing tariff and the fact that bills were issued every two months with no reconciliation at the end of the year, opening up consumers to the possibility of being overcharged.

In a recent judgment in a case filed by two consumers, the judge declared that the method used by utilities billing company ARMS to bill consumers for their electricity consumption was not only incorrect, but illegal.

Government is challenging the court ruling, although committing itself to change the billing system as from the start of this year.

Sammut said that Energy Minister Miriam Dalli and Prime Minister Robert Abela had said that the bills would not be revised and that they would be fixing the system as from this year.

“The only remedy that people have is to go to the courts. We will be giving the opportunity to all those people that have been robbed to take part in a class action and get their money back. We will cover all the legal expenses,” Sammut said.

He explained that anyone can register on the website the party set up or visit the PN headquarters, irrespective of whether one had provided the details to PN in 2018.

“I appeal to all those that want to take part, to register immediately. They can bring us the bills and we would then confirm the amount due to them,” Sammut said.

“Anyone who was robbed deserves to get the money back. It is not fair that people have to do well for the government’s reckless spending. We will stand for justice and will defend the people.”

PN MP Ryan Callus said that it was not the law that was incorrect, but the mechanism used for the bills.

“The government used to blame the past Nationalist government but this was a lie. The court was clear in its decision that the mechanism was faulty.”

Callus said that PN had approached the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) and the Regulator for Energy & Water Services (REWS) with the people’s complaints, “but nothing was done”.

He said that the 2021 National Audit Office report confirmed that the consumers were being robbed.

“We have regulators that are not doing their work to safeguard the consumer. We have a government that knew for a number of years that theft was ongoing and did nothing. PN had no option to observe its duty and defend the consumer”