People should vote for the Nationalist Party if they want a refund on their energy bills, PN energy spokesperson Ryan Callus said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, Callus noted how the government had finally acknowledged the need to revamp the billing system after years of complaints about overcharging.

Callus said despite admitting the error, the government will not be refunding consumers.

“The PN will offer refunds. If you want a refund, you need to vote PN,” Callus urged.

He said the PN had first flagged the overbilling issue in 2018.  From a study carried out by the party, excess charges were found on 80% of the 1,000 bills analysed.

Callus said many people had, in recent weeks, been faced with high bills following the summer heatwave.

He said that while people should obviously be charged for their consumption, money “stolen” from them should be refunded.

Callus said the party had come across examples of consumers being charged as much as €190 extra on a €700 bill.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana pledged during Monday’s budget to revise the ARMS billing system to prevent people receiving “surprises” on their bills. Caruana did not provide a timeline for the revision process.

A draft report by the National Audit Office (NAO) had found that consumers could have paid “extra charges” totalling €6.5 million on their electricity and water bills.

The, as yet unpublished, report by the Auditor General’s office calculated a variance of €4.6 million in electricity bills and €1.9 million variance in water bills.

Caruana said the new system will allow consumers to save unused cheap units that can then be redeemed during periods of high consumption.

The finance minister said the current billing system was created by the Nationalist Party in 2009. He insisted the system has remained, apart from a reduction in tariffs in 2013. 

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