Refunds totalling €2.6 million will be sent out to business owners this month as the first round of repayments for an electricity bill refund scheme for the commercial sector, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli said on Saturday.

The refunds form part of a bigger €6 million pool allocated for multiple rounds of repayments as part of the scheme, announced in August as part of government’s plan to help businesses cope with costs during COVID-induced shutdowns.

Dalli, who was flanked by Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia, said that when coupled with payments given to businesses as part of a COVID-19 wage supplement, the government would be forking out €40 million in payments this month.

The energy minister said the government had received around 6,400 applications for more than 7,300 separate electricity bills.

Farrugia gave a breakdown of these applications. 

Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia. Photo: MaltaGov Facebook pageMalta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia. Photo: MaltaGov Facebook page

He said that the four major sectors which applied for the electricity bill refund scheme were:

  • Wholesale and retail (33%)
  • Accommodation and food (27%)
  • Personal services such as hairdressers (15.9%)
  • Manufacturing (8%)

Companies that applied employ a total of 24,410 employees in Malta and 1,396 employees in Gozo, Farrugia said.

“This scheme was launched to aid businesses who had applied for the wage supplements scheme, and accounted for bills paid between July and September of this year,” Dalli said.

Businesses that applied are entitled to refunds of up to 50 per cent of their tariff costs. Single-outlet businesses can receive a refund of up to €1,500, while businesses with multiple outlets can be covered up to €7,500.

“One of the first discussions Malta Enterprise had with minister Dalli was to push for the earliest possible repayments of this scheme.

“We also wanted to make sure we release this month’s wage supplement in time for the holidays so employers can rest assured they are able to cover their employees’ wages,” Farrugia said.

Dalli highlighted how €320 million were dished out in wage supplements from March to December of this year, covering around 85,000 employees spread over 17,000 businesses.

She also cited other initiatives, such as teleworking scheme and the repayment for quarantine leave, which the government had introduced to help households during

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