A new utility billing system will be introduced allowing consumers to benefit from cheap units all year round.

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli told parliament on Wednesday the new system will apply from January 2022 and would address “anomalies” in a 2009 legal notice governing billing.

"In the coming weeks, we will be announcing details on how anomalies that a PN government introduced in a 2009 legal notice, will be repealed,” Dalli said.

Dalli said work is already under way on the new system, which will allow consumers to accumulate cheaper units that are not used at the beginning of the year.

Times of Malta had revealed last May how a draft National Audit Office report found that consumers could have been charged an extra €6.5 million on their electricity and water bills.

In a press conference on Thursday, PN energy spokesperson Ryan Callus said the ARMS billing system was not an "anomaly", but theft. 

He said that, contrary to the government, a PN administration would refund the millions "stolen" from consumers since 2013. 

Callus said that prior to 2013, consumers used to receive four estimate bills and two actual ones. 

When Labour came to power in 2013, this billing system was changed with all the bills sent out being actual ones rather than estimates, Callus said. 

This, the PN MP continued, is what led to consumers being robbed of the cheaper units they were entitled to. 

PN deputy leader David Agius said the government had finally proven the Nationalist Party right after the latter spent months highlighting the problem. 

He noted how Dalli's speech in parliament had been vague when it came to the details of this new mechanism. 

"We want this mechanism to result in cheaper bills. We want a just, transparent system that is easy to understand. We want fair bills reflecting consumption over an entire year," Agius said. 

He accused Labour of "stealing" from consumers for nine whole years, and it would be a PN government that would refund the money stolen. 

On the Electrogas power station contract, Callus said a PN government would revise the contracts signed to allow the government to buy energy from the cheapest sources. 

Labour reaction

In a reaction, the Labour Party said the PN government had 'robbed' the people through high power rates which had been raised beyond the increase in the European Union.  The PN, therefore, lacked credibility when it spoke about the power tariffs. 

The Labour government had reduced the tariffs and kept them stable at a time when they were rising fast elsewhere.  

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