Does the new CEO of Arms understand her own company’s billing structure?

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Does the new CEO of Arms understand her own company’s billing structure?“A recent article in the Times of Malta (Muscat says Enemalta will clamp down on theft once meters are installed in boathouses;” 20th October, 2014) contained the following quote:

“An Enemalta spokesman told Times of Malta consumption would be charged at domestic rates; the middle tier in the ARMS billings structure, more expensive than residential rates but cheaper than non-residential (commercial) tariffs.”

Do I, a layperson, know more about Arms’s billing structures than ‘an Enemalta spokesperson?’

The domestic rate is EMPHATICALLY NOT the middle tier in the Arms billing structure for residences with more than one resident.

For goodness sake, Arms’ billing structure is not the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. You do not need to be that numerically literate to see that there are clear rationales behind each tariff which have nothing to do with expensive, less expensive and least expensive.

The domestic rate is designed for owners of empty second homes or occasionally used homes. The principle is that your consumption will not be high so therefore you are charged at a rate slightly more expensive for the first 33 cubic metres of water and 2 000 units of electricity but after this the cost is EXTORTIONATE: 5.14 euro per cubic metre of water instead of 1.40 euro per cubic metre (at the residential rate) and a more expensive cost per unit of electricity. Plus you do not get the eco reduction. The greater the number of people, the greater is the difference in cost.

The non-residential rate, as the name implies, is meant for properties that are not residential, ie. designed for businesses. This incurs a more expensive standing charge than the residential rate but the cost per unit is pretty much similar to the residential rate. However, there is no eco reduction at this rate.

The residential rate is the rate everyone living in their primary residences should be paying. There is an allowance of 33 cubic metres of water PER PERSON per year. So a family of 5 people would be allowed 165 cubic metres of water at 1.40 euro per cubic metre per year. The cost per unit of electricity is also lower per unit and there are eco reductions if the reasonable allowance per person of 1 750 units of electricity per year has not been exceeded.

Under pressure from the EU, Arms ran a series of adverts in the Times of Malta late last year advertising their criteria for eligibility for the residential rate, amongst which: “The residential tariff is applicable on the consumer’s primary residence only.”

And yet, nearly a year after these adverts appeared, nothing has been done to stop the discrimination against tenants. Many tenants living in their primary residences are paying at the extortionate domestic rate, some of them totally unaware of this travesty.

Our group, Class Action Against Arms, has corresponded with successive Arms CEOs, Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, the Auditor General, the Federation of Estate Agents, the Inland Revenue, various estate agencies… Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was carbon copied in.

And still it goes on.

I submit that Arms’s behaviour in knowingly overcharging tenants for their consumption of water and electricity because ‘it needs the permission of the landlord,’ is unconstitutional. And against its own criteria for eligibility for the residential rate as outlined in the Times of Malta adverts.

In addition to needing the landlord’s permission, there is a new additional barrier for some tenants to get the residential rate. Apparently, Arms has now decided that if a tenant lets a property from a company, then the company is not able to endorse Form H. What kind of nonsense is this? It really shouldn’t matter whether the tenant is renting a property from a private landlord, company or a penguin. They are still living in their primary residence. Why on earth should a tenant pay more while his multiple-property owning, company director landlord pays at the residential rate on his own primary residence?

How many EU directives is this appalling behaviour breaking?

Does the new CEO of Arms understand her own company’s billing structure, I wonder? Or is she “identifying and managing opportunities of revenue growth” as described in Arms’s mission statement?

Now if that is not a euphemism for “managing state sanctioned, institutionalised theft,” I don’t know what is.”

Johanna MacRae

Class Action Against Arms

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    1 Response

    1. David Reiling says:

      i doubt she does

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