Utility bills ‘anomaly’ will be corrected next year, Prime Minister says

In a wide-ranging interview on TVM’s Dissett, Joseph Muscat says the government is close to identifying a site for a motorsport racing track

Joseph Muscat interviewed on TVM's Dissett
Joseph Muscat interviewed on TVM's Dissett

Consumers bitten by “an anomaly” in the utility billing system could hope for some form of redress next year, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

The issue concerns the manner by which utility billing company ARMS has been calculating bills every two months.

The two-monthly actual bills being sent to consumers are splitting the annual quota of cheap units into smaller portions. As a result, consumers end up jumping into the higher brackets every two months, and with ARMS failing to reconcile the bills on an annual basis, consumers end up paying more.

Interviewed on TVM’s Dissett on Wednesday evening, Muscat said ARMS was in the process of concluding its analysis of the billing system, which had been in place since 2009.

Muscat said there was an “anomaly” in the manner by which bills were calculated that was impacting “a particular bracket”.

Without elaborating, he said the anomaly “will be addressed next year”.

American University of Malta

In an interview with veteran journalist Reno Bugeja, the Prime Minister expressed his conviction that the American University of Malta project will be a success.

Muscat derided what he termed as racist criticism directed at the project as a result of the investor being Jordanian.

He said the contract stipulated a student population of 4,000, four years from completion. 

“The investor has already spent €20 million and there is a [student] target for next year that will be reached… I believe they [AUM] must be able to communicate better locally but this project will succeed,” Muscat said confidently.

AUM has been dogged by poor student intake over the past two years, raising questions as to whether the project was feasible.

Car racing track

Asked about plans for a motorsport racing track, Muscat said the government was close to identifying a place.

He said two sites had originally been identified but one was too close to residential areas in Mosta and the other would have gobbled up virgin land.

“We are close to identifying a place and we are trying to be creative but there is an opportunity cost to everything we do. We would have to give up land that could be used for an industrial park, or a national park, or farmland. But that is a decision that will have to rest with me,” Muscat said.

On the Gozo tunnel, Muscat said the project would be done but the Environment and Resources Authority was currently studying the opportunities that exist to dispose of the excavation waste that will be produced.

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