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Understanding your electricity bill
14 Jan, 2020. 0 Comments. PV Schemes in Malta, Solar Energy Malta

Every two months, the much-dreaded ARMS bill arrives in our homes and most of us zoom in on the total due section and the billing period and simply ignore the rest of the details. These two pages however contain a wealth of information which can help us identify our electricity and water consumption patterns and can enable us to find ways of monitoring and reducing waste as well as considering alternatives to generate savings.

Residential or Domestic tariffs ?

The first important thing to do is to confirm that the consumer scheme type for the bill located under the meter location box appears as Residential. This is only possible if the bill belongs to a residential property where at least one occupier is registered on the bill. When no residents are registered on the bill, the consumer scheme is set to Domestic where higher electricity and water tariffs apply. This also means that you will not be benefiting from an eco-reduction rebate which is based on the number of registered residents on the bill. A resident can only be registered on one ARMS account.

Estimates or Actual readings ?

The meter reading section on the right illustrates the different meter(s) that are associated with the ARMS account bill. There are different meter numbers and readings for the consumption of electricity and water and for PV owners, two more readings for electricity generated by the PV system and exported electricity to the grid. Make sure that the consumption type for each meter reading is always indicated by an “A” before the number, which indicates that the reading is an actual reading. Nowadays, meter reading data is collected remotely but there are still some areas where this does not happen. In this case, the ARMS bill will contain estimates indicated by “N” or “E” and the consumer should send the latest readings to ARMS to issue an updated and accurate bill.

The main section of the bill gives us a summary of the consumption, service charges, eco reduction and photovoltaic feed in tariff (FiT) for PV owners. Again, the consumption amount will vary if the meter readings taken were estimates or actuals. The FIT and actual consumption cost will also vary depending on whether the PV owner has opted to sell all the units produced by the PV system to the grid or whether he has opted for own consumption. We will discuss the merits of each option in a later article.

How much am I spending ?

The second page gives us a breakdown of the water and electricity consumption bands and how the consumption has been allocated for that period to each band. It also includes the service charge for the period. The lowest tariff for electricity consumption starts at 10.47c for the first 2000 units (kWh on meter reading) per annum. The allocation is calculated pro rata for the period, so for a two month period, the first 345 units of the consumption would be worked out at 10.47c. The second band has a tariff of 12.98c for the next 4000 units annually (or next 690 units for two months). The third band has a tariff of 16.07c for the next 4000 units annually (or next 690 units for two months). The forth band has a tariff of 34.20c for the next 10000 units annually (or next 1667 units for two months). The final band has a tariff of 60.76c for the next 20000 units annually and over. These are the rates for the Residential scheme. The domestic scheme rates are even higher. For water consumption, there are two rates based on the cubic meters of water consumed within the two month period and these are set at €1.395/m3 for the first 5.515m3 for two months or €5.1395/m3 thereafter. The eco reduction and the FiT calculations are illustrated beneath the tariffs section.

In which periods do I consume the most electricity ?

The bottom part of the bill illustrates the consumption for water and electricity in the form of a bar graph and a table. The bar graph illustrates the readings taken for the particular billing month and black or white colours indicate whether the readings were actuals or estimates. This is particularly helpful to visualize our consumption patterns and helps us identify in which periods our consumption was higher than normal, say in summer due to cooling or in winter due to heating. The adjacent tables show us the average units consumed daily, the average daily cost, the number of days and the total number of units both for the previous year as well as the current year with the expected projected consumption. This information acts as a baseline when considering the purchase of a photovoltaic system and which FiT option you should consider.

Need more help ?

Our team of technical representatives at AQS Solar can assist you on reducing your bills by finding the right solution for you. Contact us for a free onsite consultation.

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