Expats in Malta protest against two tier utility bills

Published:  10 Dec at 6 PM
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Following the introduction by Maltese utility company ARMS of a two-tier energy and water billing system, a group of angry expats living on the island are lobbying against discrimination.

After the establishment of a lower residential and domestic utility rate for Maltese nationals, the expat community complained to Arms. In response, the utility company reluctantly agreed to accept as evidence expats’ e-residence cards and ID cards, but refused to contact eligible customers to inform them about the lower rates.

Foreign residents were told to contact the firm themselves to get the lower rates to which they are entitled, prompting the lobby group Up in Arms to tell as many expats as possible about the changes. According to group member Patricia Graham, there is concern that expat pensioners have no knowledge about the two-tier system and the possibility of exemption from the higher charges.

Graham is canvassing the island’s estate agents in order to have them inform incomers before they sign leases or purchase homes. Even if only one EU national expat ends up paying the higher rate, she told reporters, we will have failed in our mission.

ID cards and e-residence cards can only be used as proof of EU nationality and residence by expat home owners and those renting who have bills in their own names. People living in rental properties where landlords have not declared the tenancies will be worst affected as regards losing out.

Up in Arms is hoping their action will result in the discriminatory two-tier system being abandoned. In the meantime, they say, they will continue spreading awareness of the issue across the expat community.
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