ARMS… The Saga continues…

So the saga continues… ARMS (Malta’s Automated Revenue Management Services company that collects electricity bills) have so far ignored me, ignored my lawyer, and ignored my emails… Today I received a letter (scans of the letter at the bottom of this page) threatening legal action and disconnection again… This is despite me sending the following letter to them a month previously (on the 4th December 2012)..

ENGLISH:

I am writing to you about a number of things, including a long standing
issue that is still not resolved. My next step is talk to Parliament
and the Times of Malta.

FIRST:

I bought a house here in Malta in June/July 2010, and was named on the
bill by the former owner as she changed the service from herself. I was
placed on a ‘Residential Rate’ even though I have a residency
certificate and I operate a commercial enterprise from my premises.

In September/October 2011 I was in the USA on business and the meter
reader came to my premises was unable to get an answer at the door (due
to me being 5000+ miles away in the USA.)

ARMS proceeded to ‘Estimate’ a reading (of only some 70ish units) and
mark the bill as a ‘N’ (Non Read) when the actual reading would have
shown considerably more (circa 11,000 units.)

In March 2012 an ARMS employee visited my premises and read the meter
(and the accurate read of some 20,000+ units) and shortly there after I
received a bill for some €12900+. Upon examining it I saw several errors:

1/ The law provided discounted rating had been disregarded and the
20,000 unit difference between the ‘non read’ and the current reading
had been pro-rated to just 6 months (rather than the law provided 12
months.)
2/ The bill showed ‘0 (zero) residents’ – This is wrong on 2 counts.
a/ I am a commercial (non-residential) entity
b/ I am a Maltese resident and therefore should not be paying the
‘Domestic’ ratings.

Shortly after I asked my lawyer and friend Ms G Spiteri to accompany me
to the ARMS office in Pieta for an explanation and correction. Both Ms
Spiteri and I were astonished when the ARMS staff member told us that it
was a computer programming error that could not be rectified (and would
not be rectified) without involvement from the CEO of ARMS. He then
proceeded to inform us that the incorrect tariff would not be corrected
without filling out a change of service form, which I had to download
from the website and fill in. I read your form and noted at the
signature line that there is a statement alluding to the change would
only be applied to the date of signing onwards. This is unacceptable as
it was not my mistake in the first instance.

In September 2012 I receive a ‘notice of disconnection’ from ARMS, I
informed Ms Spiteri, who wrote to yourselves indicating that you would
be held responsible to the amount of €1000 per 24 hour period in lost of
business earnings should you proceed. I repeated the same to your
customer care line, they indicated that I (rather than my lawyer) should
have contacted yourselves. Whom I chose to contact you is dependent on
your responses to me, and so far they have been such that I am
considering taking a very public class action suit against ARMS for this
completely discriminatory, defamatory, inadequate and prejudicial service.

I note that as of today (4 December 2012) responses have been slow (if
at all) and the service is still considered by yourselves as ‘Domestic’
My latest bill shows some €17000+ in arrears and it is getting to the
point when I think if it is even sorted out and I am billed at the
correct rate I will not be able to afford to pay the bill in a complete
hit and may be left with interest charges that you apply without any
credit agreement that enables such.

ALSO:

Last night I suffered 3 separate power outages when the ‘smart meter’
shut the supply off each time indicating ‘Over Usage by 18%’ … The
additional power I was consuming were an electric cooking ring (single)
and the oven. I am sure you are aware the power usage by said items
does not exceed what 3×3.5kw Airconditioning units and a 7kw unit would
use during the summer (which I was using this summer, without issue.) I
am fully aware the ‘Smart Meters’ are remote programmable and remote
controllable and as such you can remotely tell the unit to terminate the
supply at any time without my interaction. This means either one of 2
rational possibilities:

1/ Someone instigated a remote power outage.
2/ The meter is faulty and is incorrectly reading the power consumption.

(a third option would be someone stealing power, however with the
exception of the existing ground level wiring, I am fully aware of all
the connections and intersecting points of my installation as I
installed most of it myself, including additional grounding to bring the
installation to a greater safety level than required by Maltese law.)

The power outages caused several issues. First, I lost 7 days of work
(80 hours of work) due to it as it caused damage to one of my computers
that had not managed to complete it’s backup. Second, it was highly
dangerous to the members of the household, not to mention myself because
we were plunged into darkness, one person in the shower, myself cooking
with a hot deep fat fryer, and someone had to navigate through the dark
building and fumble in the electricity cupboard for the breaker to reset
it (had there been power this could have proved fatal.)

LASTLY:

Some time ago (possibly summer 2011) I requested a larger meter to be
installed in this premises as when the Smart Meter was installed they
installed a 60Amp meter which was lower than the original, and is
totally inadequate for a 4/5 bedroomed air conditioned house. I noted
on your website at that time that you had the option of a larger single
phase meter (80 amp) which is more realistic to the needs of a large
house. I was informed by the ARMS staff that there was no such meter
and I would have to “upgrade” to a 3 phase installation. The internal
wiring of this building is not suitable for a 3 phase installation,
though it is conceivable that I could separate out individual phases for
certain parts of the house. I was informed the cost would be in excess
of €3000 for the said ‘upgrade’ (as opposed to the website quoted change
of €300 for a larger meter – which would put me back to the original
meter size pre-smart meter.)

SUMMARY:

I am to date disgusted with the service of ARMS, I cannot get correct
billing, I cannot get responses from persons responsible, I have an
inadequate service that you refuse to change without exorbitant fees and
considerable inconvenience, not to mention the prejudicial and
discriminatory service I have received to date.

Michelle Sulivan

PS: Please reply in English.

MALTI:

Qed nikteb dwar numru ta’ affarijiet, inkluz kwistjoni antika li ghada
mhijiex rizolta. Il pass li jmiss minghandi huwa li nkellem
lill-Parlament u l-‘Times Of Malta’.

L-EWWEL:
Xtrajt dar hawn Malta f’ Gunju/Lulju 2010, u kont msemijja fuq il-kont
li kien miktub mill-proprjetarju precedenti kif qalbet is-servizz minn
isimha ghal fuq ismi. Kont fuq “Rata Residenzjali” anka jekk ghandi
certifikat tar-residenza u nopera intrapriza kummercjali mill-bini tieghi.

F’Settembru/Ottubru 2011 kont fl-Istati Uniti fuq negozju u it-tekniku
ta’ l-arlogg tad-dawl gie id-dar tieghi pero ma’ fetahlu hadd (peress li
kont 5000+ mili il-boghod fl-Istati Uniti.)

ARMS ipproċedew biex jghamlu “Stima” tal-qari (ta’ circa 70 units biss)
u mmarka l-kont bħala “N” (Non Read) meta l-qari attwali kien juri
konsiderevolment aktar (circa 11000 units.)

F’Marzu 2012 impjegat tal-ARMS żar il-post tiegħi u qara l-arlogg
tad-dawl (il-qari preċiż kien ta ‘xi 20,000 + units) u ftit wara
rcievejt kont ta xi € 12,900 +. Meta eżaminajt dan il qari sibt bosta
żbalji:

1 / Il-liġi provdiet rata skontata li kienu ġew injorati u l-20000 units
differenza bejn il-“non read ‘u l-qari attwali kien distribwit biss fuq
6 xhur (minflok skond il-liġi fuq 12-il xahar.)
2 / Il-kont wera 0 (żero) residenti “- Dan huwa ħażin ghal 2 ragunijiet.
a / Jiena entità kummerċjali (mhux residenzjali)
b / Jiena residenta’ Maltijja u għalhekk m’għandiex ghalfejn nħallas
ir-rati domestici.

Ftit wara tlabt l-avukata tiegħi u ħabiba Sinjura G Spiteri biex
takkumpanjani fl-uffiċċju tal-ARMS fi Pieta għal spjegazzjoni u
korrezzjoni. Kemm is-Sinjura Spiteri u jien konna ixxukjati meta
l-membru tal-persunal ARMS qalilna li dan kien żball ta ‘programmazzjoni
fil-kompjuter li ma setgħux jiġu rettifikati (u mhumiex ha jigu
rettifikati) mingħajr l-involviment mis-CEO tal-ARMS. Huwa mbagħad
infurmana li t-tariffa skorretta mux se tigi ikkoreġuta jekk il-forma
tal-bidla fis-servizz ma tigiex mimlijjha, u ghalek kelli nniżżilha
mill-websajt u nimlijha. Jien u naqra il-formola tiegħek innutajt
mill-linja tal-firma li hemm stqarrija tirreferi indirettament
għall-bidla li tigi applikata biss mid-data tal-iffirmar l-quddiem. Dan
mhuwiex aċċettabli għaliex ma kienx żball tiegħi fl-ewwel istanza.

F’s-Settembru 2012 irċievejt “avviż ta ‘skonnessjoni” minn ARMS, jiena
nfurmajt lis-Sinjura Spiteri, li kitbet lillkom infuskom li jindika li
inthom ser tkunu responsabbli għall-ammont ta’ € 1,000 fuq perjodu ta
kull ’24 siegħa ghat-telfa ta’ qligħ tan-negozju jekk tipproċedu.
Irripetejt l-istess lill-linja taghkom tal-‘customer care’, li ndikaw li
kelli nikkuntatjakom jien stess (minflok l-avukat tiegħi). Lil min
għażilt jikuntatjak huwa jiddipendi fuq it-tweġibiet tiegħek lili, u
s’issa kienu tali li jiena qed nikkonsidra nieħu azzjoni pubblika kontra
ARMS għal dan is-servizz kompletament diskriminatorju, malafamanti,
inadegwat u ta ‘preġudizzju.

Ninnota li mil-lum (4 Diċembru 2012) risposti kienu ftit (jekk xejn) u
s-serviżż għadu meqjus minnkom bħala “Domestiku”. L-ahhar kont tieghi
juri xi €17,000+ b’lura u qed nasal sal-punt fejn naħseb jekk saħansitra
hija mifthiema u jiena ċċarġjata b’rata korretta, mhux ser inkun kapaċi
niflah nħallas l-kont mil-ewwel u nista nithalla bl-ispejjeż tal-imgħax
li inthom tapplikaw mingħajr ebda ftehim ta ‘kreditu li tippermetti tali.

WKOLL:

Il-bierah filghaxija soffrejt 3 qtugh tal-eletriku separati meta
lis-“Smart Meter” wera uzu eccessiv bi 18% … L-elettriku addizzjonali
li kont qed nikkonsuma kien ċirku tat-tisjir elettriku (singlu) u
l-forn. Jiena ċerta li inthom konxji li l-użu tal-enerġija mill
imsemmija oġġetti ma jeċċedix dak ta’ 3×3.5kw units tal-airconditioning
u 7kw units li jintuza matul is-sajf (li kont qed nuża dan is-sajf
mingħajr problemi) Jiena konxja li lis-“Smart Meters”huma programmati u
kkontrollati b’mod remot u bħala tali inthom tistghu iggielhu l-unit
ttemm l-provvista fi kwalunkwe waqt mingħajr l-interazzjoni tiegħi. Dan
ifisser xi wieħed mill-2 possibbiltajiet razzjonali:

1 / Xi ħadd instiga qtugh tal-enerġija mill-bogħod.
2 / L-arlogg tad-dawl huwa difettuż u il-qari tal-konsum tal-enerġija
huwa zbaljat.

(A tielet possibilta’ hija li xi hadd qed jisraq l-elettriku, madankollu
bl-eċċezzjoni tal-wiring eżistenti livell ma l’art, jiena konxja ta
‘l-konnessjonijiet u l-punti li jaqtgħu lil xulxin tal-installazzjoni
tiegħi peress li installajt il-maggorita’ jien stess, inkluż ert
addizzjonali sabiex l-installazzjoni f’sigurta’ aqwa minn dak meħtieġ
mil-liġi Maltija.)

Il-qtugħ ta’l -enerġija ikkawża diversi kwistjonijiet. L-ewwel, jiena
tlift 7 t’ijiem ta ‘xogħol (80 sigħat ta’ xogħol) peress li kkawża dannu
lil wieħed mill-kompjuters tiegħi li ma lahaqx jlesti il ‘backup’.
It-tieni, kien ferm perikoluż għall-membri mimsuba fil-bini, biex ma
nsemmux li konna mitfugħin fid-dlam, persuna waħda fid-doċċa, jien stess
nsajjar bi fryer jahraq, u xi ħadd kellu jinnaviga fil-bini mudlam u
jfittex fil-cupboard tal-elettriku għall-interruttur sabiex jerga
jixghelu (li kieku kien hemm elettriku dan seta’ jirrizulta’ fatali.)

Fl-aħħarnett:

Xi żmien ilu (possibilment fis-sajf ta’ l-2011) jien tlabt sabiex jiġi
installat arlogg tad-dawl akbar f’din ir-residenza bħal meta lis-‘Smart
Meter’ kien installat dawn installaw arlogg 60Amp li kien inqas
mill-oriġinali, u hija totalment inadegwata għal dar b’ 4/5 kmamar
tas-sodod b’arja kundizzjonata. Kif ukoll, f’dak iz-zmien innotajt fuq
il-websajt taghkom li kellkom l-għażla ta ‘phase meter’ singlu akbar (80
amp) li huwa aktar realistiku għall-ħtiġijiet ta’ dar kbira. Pero kont
infurmata mill-persunal ARMS li ma kienx hemm meter bħal dan u li jkolli
namel “upgrade” għal ‘3 phase installation’ . Il-wajers interni ta’ dan
il-bini mhumiex adattati għal ‘3 phase installation’, għalkemm ma jistax
jiġi eskluż li jien nista nissepara l fażijiet individwali għal ċerti
partijiet tad-dar. Jien kont infurmata li l-ispiża tkun f’eċċess ta ‘€
3,000 għal l-imsemmija “upgrade” (kif oppost għal-bidla kkwotata
fil-websajt ta’ € 300 għal meter akbar – li jpoġġini lura għad-daqs
oriġinali tal- ‘pre-smart meter’)

SOMMARJU:

Sal-lum jiena ddisgustata mis-servizz tal-ARMS, ma nistax nikseb
kontijiet korretti, ma nistax nikseb tweġibiet minn persuni
responsabbli, Ghandi servizz inadekwat li intom qed tirrifjuta li tbidlu
mingħajr miżati eżorbitanti u l-inkonvenjenza konsiderevoli, biex ma
nsemmux il-preġudizzju u d-diskriminazzjoni fis-servizz li irċevejt sal-lum.

Michelle Sulivan

PS: Jekk jogħġbok irrispondi bl-Ingliż.

— Michelle Sullivan http://www.mhix.org/

 

One can only hope that the likes of the Times of Malta will take up the story and expose their discrimination and illegal strong arm tactics. (They have ignored at least one law in Malta – my Lawyer has already threatened them with legal action should they not comply.)

 

ARMS Final Notice
ARMS Final Notice (1)

 

ARMS Final Notice
ARMS Final Notice (2)

 

Is sena tajba!

So as my first post this year, something quite enjoyable… steak (for 2 so multiply up as your needs require) a very simple and enjoyable recipe that is extremely easy to make!

Steak!
Simply Steak!

Preparation and cooking time: Approximately 20-25 minutes.

Ingredients:

Half a Fresh Lemon
2 Angus Fillet Steaks
1 Small Capsicum (bell pepper)
1 Medium onion
2 plum tomatoes
Half a pint (250ml) of beef stock.
1 tablespoon cornflower.
Salt and Pepper (Cracked Peppercorns, not the ground powder!)
Olive oil as necessary.
25-50ml Cold Water

 

Preparation and cooking:

Chop Onions into small pieces, followed by capsicum and tomatoes.  Place onions and capsicum into a dry pan on low heat. Put a dry skillet on a high heat (Note: I have a wok burner and use that as you need LOTS of heat – electric cookers will need lots of extra time to warm up.) Grind/crack some pepper into the skillet, by this time the pan with the onions should be making a quiet sizzle noise, give a good splash of olive oil and mix to ensure everything is coated in oil. When the onions start changing colour, place lid on pan to keep the steam in.  Stir and monitor. when the capsicum starts changing colour, add the chopped tomatoes and stock.  Bring to boil, lower heat to continue simmering without the lid/cover and add cracked pepper and salt to taste.

Meanwhile, the cracked pepper and skillet will start smoking, at this point place both steaks squarely in the skillet.  Crack some more pepper over the steaks.  Squeeze half of the lemon over both steaks, and add salt to both.  After a few minutes turn both steaks and squeeze the other half lemon over each steak.  Continue cooking to your preference (do not turn the steaks over.)  Remove both steaks to a clean wooden chopping board and allow them to ‘rest’.  Place cornflour in a cup or small jug, add a small amount of COLD water and mix well, pour mix into simmering sauce stirring well to prevent lumps forming, remove heat immediately and continue stirring.

Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables or chips and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.