Who is the Service Provider?
Have you moved to Malta? Have you lived in Malta all your life? But never bothered or managed to learn how water and electricity billing works. This blog post contains all you need to know. You will learn how to calculate your bills and how to pay them. How to save some money on your bills and how to complain if you feel that the total billed is incorrect.
To start off, it is good to know that in contrast with most other countries, Malta has only one utility company. This organisation provides water and electricity services. It handles all utility accounts in Malta and Gozo. The name of the company is Automated Revenue Management Services Limited. Also known as ARMS Ltd. ARMS Ltd is a joint venture set up between Enemalta and Water Services Corporation (WSC). Enemalta supplies electricity and bottled gas. WSC provides water and sewerage services.
ARMS Ltd handles the utility accounts on behalf of both companies. Direct all your queries and requests are to ARMS Ltd. You can tackle queries over the phone or through email. Most often to sort out any issues all you need to do is submit a paper form. But at times you may be required to go to their offices.
How is the Service Offered?
Water and Electricity bills in Malta can be expensive. Especially when compared to other European countries. The islands have a dry and humid climate. Even though you do not spend money on heating in winter, in summer the air conditioning systems make up for this! Malta is dependent on gas and the combustion of fossil fuels. These are the island’s only sources of energy. The price of crude oil is expensive besides being in constant fluctuation. These fluctuations have a big impact on the price of electricity.
Water and Electricity Rates
Tariffs in Malta and Gozo are regulated by the Regulator for Energy And Water Services (REWS). At present, there are 3 different rate categories. These being Domestic, Residential and Non-residential rates.
Each rate category is bound by a set of regulations. Note your rate category at the top right-hand side of your utility bill. Listed under consumer scheme. This section includes the number of registered residents. It is your responsibility to ensure that this data is correct.
Households can enjoy either of two categories being residential or domestic. Residential rates are the cheapest of all tariffs. This tariff applies to occupants which use the property as their primary home. It applies even to rental properties on long-lets. The occupant can apply for residential rates as long as one or more persons are registered as residing at the property. Domestic rates are more expensive than residential rates. This tariff applies to secondary properties and holiday homes. In general if the property does not have an occupant listed on an account you will be charged with domestic rates. Malta’s tariffs are progressive. The higher the consumption, the higher the charge. Electricity rates are inclusive 5% VAT.
Expats who use their accommodation as their primary home fall under the residential category. If you are being billed the domestic rates bring this to the attention of your landlord.
An individual can only be registered under one category at the same time. And on one utility account. An individual can only change his registration from one property to another once a year.
A property which is not registered as residential or domestic falls under the non-residential category. Non-residential rates apply to companies and commercial premises. This category has the most expensive tariffs.
Calculation of Utility Bills
Households and commercial users receive one water and electricity bill. This is issued every two months.
Every household and business is to ensure that meter readings are available to ARMS Ltd. There are 3 ways to supply these readings. You either provide access to the meter reader. Submit the readings through the ARMS website. Or by sending an email with the readings to [email protected] Customers can request a bill at any time. You can also check your billing history on the ARMS website.
Twice a year a meter reader reads all households and commercial meters.
In Malta, households on the residential tariff avail themselves from the eco-contribution reduction rebate. This is a subsidy on the utilities bill. This rebate is calculated on the number of residents as listed on the bill. Occupants on domestic and commercial tariffs are not entitled to this rebate.
The meter reading section shows the different meters associated with the utility account. Each meter shows the consumption for water and electricity. PV owners have an extra two readings. One for the electricity generated. Another for the electricity exported to the national grid.
Occupants who have a smart meter installed have their bills based on actual consumption. Those who do not get an estimated bill.
Note the letter denoted next to the units consumed in the meter reading section. An “A” indicates that the bill is based on actual consumption. Bills with an “N” or “E” show that are based on an estimated number of units consumed. The invoice also lists the service charge. The eco reduction and photovoltaic feed in tariff (FiT) for PV owners.
The bill has two pages. On the second page you can see how the units you consumed in the billing period have been allocated to each tier.
Households billed with residential rates have the first 2000 kWh per annum charged at €0.1047c. Since bills are issued every two months the 2000 kWh are calculated pro rata. This means the first 345 units consumed are charged at €0.1047c. The next 4000 kWh per annum are charged at a rate of €0.1298c (or 690 kWh units for two months). So on and so forth.
Occupants who are billed with domestic rates have the first 2000 kWh per annum charged at €0.1365c. The same concept as residential rates applies. In that the 2000 kWh are calculated pro rata for the period billed. The second 4000 kWh per annum are charged at a rate of €0.1673c.
In total there are 5 tiers with different tariffs. For residential, domestic and commercial tariffs refer to the following link Regulated Electricity Tariffs.
The residential water consumption charge is based on the cubic meters. Based on consumption within the two month billing period. There are 2 tiers. The charge for the first tier is €1.395/m3 for the first 5.515m3 consumed in the billing period. Extra units consumed are charged at €5.1395/m3. When it comes to domestic rates it is only the 1st tier charge which is higher than residential rates. The charge for the first tier is €2.1850/m3 for the first 5.515m3 consumed in the billing period.
For further details on water tariffs refer to the following link Regulated Water Tariffs.
Beneath the tariffs section you will find the eco-reduction and the FiT calculations.
In Malta, low income families can enjoy an energy benefit. This helps reduce the effect of the increase in utility tariffs. You can apply for this benefit through the Energy Benefit application. Download the form from the Social Security Services website. To enjoy this benefit you need to meet the eligibility criteria. Once you meet the conditions you are entitled to an amount which offsets 80% of electricity consumption. You will also get a subsidy on the rent of the utility meters. The benefit is deducted from your utility bill.
The utility billing system changed at the beginning of the year. This change corrects an irregularity in the past billing method. From January 2022 consumers started enjoying rates at the cheapest unit bands. In a nutshell the cheapest units not consumed in a billing period are not lost but accumulated. These are carried forward to the next period. This billing method enables consumers to avail themselves of all assigned units in each tier.
How to Save Money on Your Water and Electricity Bills
At the bottom of the bill there is a bar graph and table. These show water and electricity consumption in graphs. The bar graph displays the readings for the billing period. Through this tool you can visualize consumption patterns. Next to the graph are the tables. These illustrate the daily average units consumed. The average daily cost, the number of days and total units. This information is both for the current and previous year. Besides, there is an expected projection of future consumption.
On their website ARMS provides an electricity bill calculator. Whereby you can get an estimate of your monthly electricity bills. The website lists the electricity and water tariffs.
How to pay your Utility Bills
Utility bills can be settled in several ways. The most popular payment methods are through direct debit or by debit or credit card.
Settle outstanding bills through your bank account through direct debit. This payment method will provide you with a discount on each bill. The discount is 2% with a guaranteed entitlement of €3.
Payments by debit or credit card can be made through the ARMS website and internet banking. You can also list your card details at the back of the remittance slip. Attach this to the bill and post it to ARMS Ltd or visit one of the customer care outlets.
You can pay your bill by cheque. Post the cheque to ARMS Ltd together with the remittance slip. Write your utility account number and bill number at the back of the cheque.
Water and electricity bills can be paid at any Maltapost plc branch. At the post office bills can be settled in cash or cheque. Remember to take a copy of the bill with you!
Bills are to be paid within 15 days from the invoice date. Yet, consumers are granted a grace period of 45 days to pay the bill. If you settle your bill after the lapse of 45 days then you will incur a charge of 6% interest per annum. Dishonoured payments will incur a €35 administration charge besides interest.
Utility services can be suspended if you fail to pay your dues. Consider that to reinstate the services you will incur a fee.
People who rent out property have their bills settled by the property owner. The landlord then charges the bill to you on receipt.
Application Forms and their Use
On the ARMS website you will find several forms. Download the relevant form and fill in. Apart from the form you may need to submit appropriate documents. Such as an ID Card, copy of a signed deed of sale or lease agreement.
Forms and documents can be sent by post to ARMS Ltd, P.O. Box 63, Marsa MRS1000. Or you can take them to one of the ARMS customer service centers. You can also scan and email the forms and documents.
Several of the most submitted forms are listed below.
You need to fill in a form for a new electricity and water supply.
If you are moving house you need to fill in a transfer form. This needs to be filled in by the tenant or owner of the property.
Owners of unoccupied properties can apply for ‘Service Not In Use’ form. You can download the form and fill it in. In such cases the meter is only read once a year and bills are not received every two months.
The change in the number of persons residing at the property is not automatic. But you need to apply for the change to take place. Download Form H and fill it in. Together with the names and surnames of the occupants.
Form F needs to be filled and submitted if a tenant wants the utility bill in his own name and the landlord agrees. This form changes the name of the addressee on the invoice. This means that the addressee has control over the receipt and management of the invoice. In certain cases, owners would want the bill in their name for better follow up and control.
To start settling outstanding bills through direct debit download Form P, fill in and submit.
How to Submit Complaints about Billing and Service
In case of any technical problems in relation to water service or billing contact the ARMS freephone number 8007 2222. For electrical supply technical issues, call freephone number 8007 2224. From Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm.
ARMS Ltd can be contacted via email at [email protected]
You can go to one of their customer service outlets. In Malta there are two centers. One is located at Gattard House, National Road, Blata l-Bajda. The other at Old Bakery Street. Valletta. In Gozo, at Triq ta’ Wara s-Sur, Victoria. In winter, offices are open from Monday to Friday from 08:00-13:30. In summer, from Monday to Friday from 08:00-12:00.