Utility tariffs discrimination no more: EU residents to be treated as Maltese

Successful lobbying by the ‘Up in Arms’ group gets ARMS Ltd to agree for EU residents to be treated as Maltese nationals, eliminating differentiation in tariffs.

First small but significant victory for the Up in Arms class action group.
First small but significant victory for the Up in Arms class action group.

There's light at the end of the tunnel for the European expats living in Malta who have for countless months lobbied against the discriminatory utility tariffs.

EU residents in Malta are charged higher rates because their Maltese residency is not accepted by ARMS Ltd, the government's utility billing arm, on the basis of their identity card.

But during a follow-up meeting held yesterday evening with Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, the EU residents were finally informed that ARMS Ltd would be accepting and processing the new e-residence cards and the 'A' ID card in order to secure services for water and electricity.

"This is not over.  There is still much to do.  The two-tier tariff is illegal under EU Law.  We may have room to celebrate this small step and many will benefit from the decisions taken last night, but we must fight on until the domestic rate is abolished," Up in Arms spokesperson Patricia Graham said.  

EU residents currently pay the higher domestic rates.

The positive news overturns a recent policy adopted by ARMS Ltd that was not accepting the e-residence card due to the expiry date.

During yesterday's meeting with the minister, the ARMS class action group were represented by Patricia Graham. ARMS CEO James Davis and entity lawyer Matthew Grech were also present.

Graham told MaltaToday that all consumers would now be treated as Maltese nationals, eliminating differentiation in tariffs between Maltese nationals and other nationalities.

The meeting came about as a result of ongoing efforts by the 'Up in ARMS' group to end the two tier, higher Domestic tariff that many EU Nationals, were subjected to.

A Maltese National was only required to show an 'M' ID card when applying for utilities, which like the 'A' ID card, was expired. But in the case of the 'M' ID card, this is extended. To ensure equality, a decision has now been taken for ARMS Ltd to accept the 'A' ID card or the new e-res-card.

Children not in possession of the ID card would have to present birth certificates, which are already required for the new e-res-card.

"The downside, and efforts will continue in this area, is that this decision will not help those tenants who are billed directly by their landlord and those whose landlords refuse to either register tenants or place the bills in the name of the tenant," Graham said.

"It is up to us and the group to push forward with our goals to inform and educate anyone considering renting a property in Malta."

Graham said that questions must be asked before signing a lease, including whether the landlord would agree to register the tenants.

According to a parliamentary question tabled in parliament by the Ministry for Energy, the consumption charge on domestic accounts amounted to €27,081,941 in 2010 rising to €33,491,169 in 2012. Service charge amounted to €6,214,764 and €7,253,089 respectively.

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OOps, 1st mistake Konrad. One up to these scrounging, nagging, foreigners. We need the Billionaires who will buy our Passports, and contribute handsomely to our coffers. Not these miserly free-riders who come here to suck off our benefits, created exclusively for the Maltese. If they are not paying substantial Income Tax in Malta, we should just send them back home. Perhaps they can sort out the mess they left behind them, in their counrty. Not try and create a mess here.
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So much bad publicity not worth the money forcibly made to pay!
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Joseph MELI
It is not just EU residents who pay the higher utility rates though is it -as ALL non-Maltese residents pay these higher rates .Also what about the duty of responsibility of the estate agents to inform clienst when showing them rental property about the fact that they will be paying such higher rates for basic utilities-FULL DISCLOSURE.
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eu residents taghna lkoll. some common sense by a sensible minister.......
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This is only the end of the beginning: 1) As far as the private rented accommodation sector is concerned, the ONLY feasible solution is that non-Maltese EU / EEA / Swiss citizens as well as Third-Country Nationals be permitted to register themselves as household consumers with ARMS Ltd. - merely for the purpose of availing of the much cheaper ‘residential’ water and electricity consumption tariffs and all their attendant benefits - WITHOUT having to obtain the prior written permission or signed endorsement of the (tax-evading) landlord who remains as the account holder. Please note that: A) The ‘domestic’ electricity consumption tariff is 30% more expensive than the 'residential' one. B) The ‘domestic’ water consumption tariff is at least 56% more expensive than the 'residential' one. C) Unlike the ‘residential’ scheme, eco-reductions are not applied to the ‘domestic’ electricity consumption tariff. D) Unlike the ‘residential’ scheme, one-off energy allowance cheques are not payable in respect of the ‘domestic’ water and electricity consumption tariff. E) Unlike the ‘residential’ scheme, EU-funded photovoltaic (PV) panel subsidies are not payable in respect of the ‘domestic’ water and electricity consumption tariff. See section D - Documentation - on the ‘Change in number of persons declaration’ - which can be accessed by clicking on this internet link: https://www.smartutilities.com.mt/wps/wcm/connect/54761600405bfad1ae77ff7762c3056f/H+-+5275+ARMS+CHANGE+IN+NUMBER+OF+PERSONS+APPLICATION.pdf?MOD=AJPERES 2) In the matter of prosecuting the Maltese authorities vis-à-vis ongoing systemic institutional discrimination against non-Maltese EU / EEA / Swiss citizens as well as Third-Country Nationals, there is still much to be done: Please see the ever-increasing (and incomplete) catalogue of systemic institutional (price) discrimination against non-Maltese EU / EEA / Swiss citizens as well as Third-Country Nationals as follows: http://eucadmalta.webs.com/about 3) The many instances of systemic institutional discrimination against non-Maltese EU / EEA / Swiss citizens as well as Third-Country Nationals feature among the hundreds of ‘Reasons for signing’ which are appended to this online petition: “EU Commission: Stop the discrimination of EU Nationals in Malta”: http://www.change.org/petitions/eu-commission-stop-the-discrimination-of-eu-nationals-in-malta
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Prosit Konrad! Another feather in your cap!