Discover the Acea Group online 2019 Sustainability Report
Acea group’s customers: electricity and water services
According to the latest data from the Regulation Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment (ARERA)25, Acea Energia is Italy’s tenth largest operator in terms of volumes of electricity sold on the final and third market, with a 3.3% market share, for energy sold to families (“domestic customers”). In 2019, the company was also the second largest national operator in terms of volumes sold to customers of the standard market, with a 5% market share, and 18th in terms of volumes sold to the free market, with a 1.3%.market share. Between the sale of electricity and gas (open market and standard market26), as of 31.12.2019 Acea Energy manages over 1,365,000 supply contracts (+2% compared to 2018). This increase depends on the growth of active supply points in all segments of the free market, only partly offset by the reduction in the standard market electricity service (see table no. 15).
Areti, holder of the ministerial concession for the distribution of electricity in the territory of Rome and Formello, is Italy’s third largest operator in terms of volumes of energy distributed, with 3.6% of the market share (4.6% in the “domestic” and 3.3% in the “non-domestic”) and Italy’s second largest operator in terms of withdrawal points27. As at 31.12.2019, it manages 1,634,917 withdrawal points. The growth of the customer base, which generally shows slight changes, is due both to urban expansion and disposals resulting, for example, from discontinued operations (see table no. 15).
PROSUMERS CONNECTED TO ACEA NETWORKS: +9% IN 2019
A prosumer is both a producer and consumer of energy, capable of partially or totally ensuring its own energy supply and transferring any surplus produced to the grid. This protagonist of the new energy model interacts in new ways with both the distributor and the party responsible for selling/withdrawing energy. Acea is open and proactive with regard to the forms of innovation introduced by the new energy model, and in particular to the development of the capacity of the connection, transmission and distribution systems.
As at 31.12.2019, Areti registered 13,591 active prosumers on its distribution network, more than 82% of whom (11,170) are “domestic” customers and at the same time small energy producers, while the remaining 2,421 are qualified as “other uses”, i.e. non-domestic users (businesses, professional and artisanal activities). The overall figure, up 9% compared to 12,458 prosumers active in 2018, marks a steady and regular increase over the three-year period. About 7,000 of the prosumers on the Acea network are fed Acea Energia customers. The energy injected into the grid by these subjects was 77.07 GWh in 2019, about 75% photovoltaic.
INCREASING NUMBER OF USERS OF THE ELECTRICITY SOCIAL BONUS AGAIN IN 2019
For customers who are under financial hardship, also in relation to large family numbers, and customers who because of their health require the use of energy-consuming medical equipment28, ARERA, acting on the advice of the government, has made the “electricity bonus” operational, a discount applied to the cost of the electricity consumed.
In recent years, the upward trend in the number of users has confirmed the growth of social distress. In 2019 the number of Acea customers benefiting from the bonus, on both the protected market and the free market, totalled 29,89429 (about 26% more compared to the 23,746 clients accepted in 2018): 29,159, equal to 98% of the total, due to financial difficulties and 735 due to physical hardship (health).
Overall, the electric bonus system saved the participating Acea Energia customers about € 3 million in annual revenues. In addition, in the region served by Areti’s distribution network there are 11,712 customers eligible for the electricity bonus (11,429 for economic hardship, 283 for physical hardship), about 28% more than the 9,174 in 2018, served for the “sales” component by companies other than Acea Energia.
Acea is also Italy’s leading integrated water service operator (catchment, supply, purification, wastewater collection and treatment) in terms of population covered, with more than 2.6 million connected users and an overall base consisting of 8.6 million inhabitants in Italy (see table no. 15). Within the area of Rome and province alone, managed by Acea Ato 2, there are about 693,000 users and a served population equal to about 3.7 million people. Starting from this area – Ato 2 – Central Lazio – over time the Group has expanded its activities, becoming the reference operator also in the province of Frosinone (Lazio), in the provinces of Pisa, Florence, Siena, Grosseto, Arezzo and Lucca (Tuscany), in the areas from the Sorrento peninsula to the areas around Vesuvius in the provinces of Naples and Salerno and the province of Benevento (Campania) and Perugia and Terni (Umbria). Moreover, the Group operates in a number of South American countries.
SUSTAINABILITY OF WATER SERVICES: ARREARS AND WATER BONUSES
With regard to arrears, in 2019, after consulting the stakeholders, the Authority published Resolution 311/2019/R/idr containing the attached Regulation of arrears in the integrated water service (REMSI), in force since 1 January 2020. The measure introduces greater protection of residential domestic users: a provision not to stop the supply by termination of the contract and removal of the meter, except in a few well-defined cases, and a prohibition against charging penalties for reactivating the supply.
It also illustrates the categories of end users who cannot be disconnected, as well as the timing and methods of notice, deactivation, suspension, limitation and reactivation of the supply. Provisions are made to protect the accounts of apartment complexes, such as the prohibition against procedures for restriction, suspension or deactivation of the water supply against partial payments, provided that they are made within the due date and equal to at least half of the amount due.
The Area Governing Body (AGB) must promote the installation of a meter for each individual real estate unit, allowing for selective deactivation. REMSI envisages automatic compensation that is additional to any provisions for contractual quality in the event of non-compliance with the measures on the regulation of late payments.
With the new IWS User Regulation in OTA 2 Central Lazio, approved by the Conference of Mayors in July 2019, Acea Ato 2 extended the protections for “fragile” users, including resident domestic users in conditions of physical hardship among those users who cannot be disconnected.
The social water bonus, regulated by the Authority since 2017 with the approval of the application methods (TIBSI)30, provides for a discount for the supply of water to domestic users with ascertained socio-economic hardship, based on specific thresholds of the ISEE indicator31. The bonus is calculated by each operator according to family numbers (per capita basis), applying the discounted tariff to the quantity of water required to satisfy the protected amount (about 50 litres/inhabitant/day). Area Governing Bodies may introduce or confirm further measures of protection for users in financially vulnerable conditions, granting a “supplementary water bonus”.
INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS AND WATER BONUS USERS FOR ACEA GROUP COMPANIES
In 2019, Water Companies launched information campaigns on the water bonus aimed at users. In particular, to facilitate access to the discount, Acea Ato 2 launched a communications campaign aimed at residents of the capital and the metropolitan area in major Roman newspapers and information websites, produced a brochure to be distributed to citizens and posted over 4,500 posters in Rome and 90 municipalities in the province.
Acea Ato 2 also recognizes on a local basis the supplementary water bonus approved by the AGB and communicated through the aforementioned campaigns. During the year, Acea Ato 2 accepted 7,910 applications for the use of the water bonus32 for a financial value of about € 56,700. Acea Ato 5 informed users about the possibility and methods of accessing the discount, also noting the increase in the ISEE threshold defined by the Authority, and accepted 2,828 requests for the use of the bonus that generated a total financial savings for the beneficiaries of about € 63,000.
Gesesa accepted 1,324 applications for water bonuses from resident domestic users, for a financial value of about € 51,100. Between October and April 2019 Gori launched a multichannel communications campaign on the water bonus, broadcast on the company pages of Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and on Facebook “Water Bonus”.
In addition, the municipalities managed by Gori have received all the necessary informative materials from the company, both in paper and digital formats. In order to reinforce the message, a public service video was also made in which 20 mayors of municipalities in the managed area explained the operation and the requirements for access to the bonus using infographics and simple, clear language. Gori accepted 18,396 applications for water bonuses, with savings for beneficiaries of about € 511,000. Therefore, for the four Water Companies in the scope, the water bonus system saved the beneficiaries about € 682,000 in total.
TABLE NO. 15 – ACEA GROUP CUSTOMERS (ENERGY AND WATER SECTORS) (2017-2019)
|ENERGY AND GAS SALES (Acea Energia)|
|standard market service||no. of. withdrawal points||892,877||832,719||774,823|
|free market – mass market||no. of. withdrawal points||275,688||286,714||322,037|
|free market – large customers||no. of. withdrawal points||43,020||44,364||76,902|
|free market gas||no. of redelivery points||167,337||172,755||192,107|
|total||no. of supply contracts||1,378,922||1,336,552||1,365,869|
|ENERGY DISTRIBUTION (Areti)|
|domestic customers, low voltage||no. of withdrawal points||1,316,339||1,319,118||1,326,078|
|non-domestic customers, low voltage||no. of withdrawal points||311,141||307,961||305,925|
|customers at medium voltage||no. of withdrawal points||2,886||2,894||2,907|
|customers at high voltage||no. of withdrawal points||7||7||7|
|total||no. of withdrawal points||1,630,373||1,629,980||1,634,917|
|WATER SALE AND DISTRIBUTION (main water Companies of Acea Group)|
|Acea Ato 2||no. of users||649,319||689,827||692,893|
|Acea Ato 5||no. of users||194,360||197,821||199,823|
|Gori||no. of users||523,352||526,808||528,437|
|Gesesa||no. of users||55,253||57,404||57,142|
|Acque||no. of users||325,912||327,323||328,208|
|Publiacqua (*)||no. of users||393,091||395,635||397,682|
|Adf (*)||no. of users||231,482||231,563||231,771|
|Umbra Acque||no. of users||232,910||233,405||233,460|
|total||no. of users||2,605,679||2,659,786||2,669,416|
|Acea Ato 2||population served||3,631,529||3,703,160||3,704,931|
|Acea Ato 5 (*)||population served||481,000||469,836||469,836|
|Gori (**)||population served||1,439,091||1,446,004||1,456,462|
|Gesesa (*)||population served||109,841||118,044||120,574|
|Publiacqua (*)||population served||1,243,649||1,247,216||1,247,216|
|Umbra Acque||population served||504,155||502,065||501,186|
(*) Some of the data relating to users and/or “population served” in 2017 and/or 2018 has been corrected by the Companies Gesesa, AdF and Publiacqua, modifying the totals accordingly. The 2019 data of the population served by Publiacqua and Acea Ato 5 are also estimated.
(**)The 2019 figure refers to the resident population at 1 January 2019.
26 The relevant national Authority accurately defines the energy market segments. See the ARERA website.
27 See the Annual report on the status of services and activities carried out, 2019 edition (on 2018 data), Structure, pricing and quality in the electricity sector available online on the ARERA website.
28 For details of the conditions legitimising the request and granting of the electricity bonus, see the specific section of the ARERA website.
29 For customers with financial hardship and health problems reference is made to the number of customers who benefited from the bonus at least once during the year.