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Expats oppose two-tier utility billing in Malta

A group of expatriates in Malta is lobbying against a two-tier billing system for energy and water that has been implemented by the utility company ARMS.

Under the system, expats have to contact the firm, which has reluctantly agreed to accept 'A' ID cards and e-residence cards as evidence, in order to get a lower rate.

This is because a different residential rate and domestic rate have been established to offer Maltese people reduced bills, reports the Times of Malta.

Despite the victory in getting ARMS to accept the ID cards, the firm is refusing to contact eligible customers to let them know they could qualify to have their bills lowered.

The lobby group Up In Arms is therefore trying to contact as many expats as possible to tell them about the changes.

Patricia Graham, a member of the group, said she is particularly worried about expat pensioners who may be in the dark about the two-tier pricing system.

She is meeting with estate agents to get them on board with telling expats about their rights before signing a lease for a property.

Ms Graham told the news provider: "Even if one EU national is still paying the higher rate, it kind of takes away from what we achieved, so I am not at all happy."

The acknowledgement of 'A' ID cards and e-residence cards can only benefit expats who own a home of their own or rent and have the bills in their name.

Those living in houses where landlords have not declared their tenants are the worst affected and may not even know that they are losing out.

While Up In Arms is working for greater awareness of the two-tier system among expats and what they can do about it, the campaign group still hopes this method of billing will be abolished all together.

In the meantime, it is left up to expat communities to spread the word among their members to ensure nobody is left out.

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