Acea group’s customers: electricity and water services
According to the data published by the Regulation Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment (ARERA) 25, Acea Energia is Italy’s tenth largest operator in terms of volumes sold on the energy sale end-user market and the third with a 3.4% market share for energy sold to families - “domestic customers”, the company is the second largest national operator in terms of volumes sold to customers in the more protected market, with a market share of 4.9%, and is ranked eighteenth operator in terms of volumes sold to the free market, with a market share of 1.6%.
In 2018 Acea Energia managed about 1,340,000 supply contracts between sales of energy and gas (see Table no. 11). The customer base, which follows the normal competitive dynamics of the liberalised market, undergoes annual changes, both entering and exiting the market: between 2018 and 2017, there was a total contraction of 3% of the customer base managed in the various segments of the energy market (“free” and “protected” markets) 26.
Areti is Italy’s third largest operator in terms of volumes of electricity distributed, with a 3.6% market share, and Italy’s second largest operator in terms of withdrawal points 27. In its capacity as holder of the ministerial licence, the company delivers energy across the areas of Rome and Formello and in 2018 it had 1,629,980 withdrawal points; the trend of the customer base is due to both urban expansion and disposals resulting, for example, from companies being discontinued (see Table no. 11).
PROSUMERS CONNECTED TO ACEA NETWORKS: +10% IN 2018
The “prosumer” is one of the protagonists of the new energy model being progressively defined. Being both a producer and consumer of energy, this type of customer is capable of partially or totally ensuring its own energy supply and transferring any surplus produced to the grid, thus establishing new relations with both the distributor and the party responsible for selling/withdrawing energy.
Acea has been proactive from the outset towards the forms of innovation that this evolution of the energy model entails, and in particular as regards the development of the capacity of the connection, transmission and distribution systems. It has also taken steps to comply with the regulatory obligations associated with the new production and consumption systems.
As at 31.12.2018, 12,458 prosumers were active on the energy distribution grid managed by Areti – this figure, up by about 10% compared to the 11,344 prosumers in 2017, confirms the trend of the last two years of a constant, regular increase. Of the total active prosumers, 10,217 are qualified as “domestic prosumers”, i.e. customers with residential user contracts who are also small energy producers, and 2,241 are qualified as “other uses”, i.e. non-domestic users (businesses, professional and artisanal activities). About 7,000 of the prosumers on the Acea network are also Acea Energia customers. The energy transferred to the network by these subjects was 76.72 GWh in 2018, about 73% photovoltaic.
INCREASING NUMBER OF USERS OF THE ELECTRICITY SOCIAL BONUS
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 indispensable energy-consuming medical equipment 28, ARERA, acting on the advice of the government, has made the so-called “electricity bonus” operational; this involves a discount applied to the cost of the electricity consumed. In recent years the number of users has continued to increase, underscoring the growth of social distress. In fact, in 2018 the number of Acea customers benefiting from the bonus, on both the protected market and the free market, totalled 23,746 29 (about 15% more compared to the 20,683 clients accepted in 2017), of whom 23,379 – 98% of the total – due to financial hardship and 367 due to their health. Overall, the electric bonus system saved the beneficiaries about € 3 million in annual revenues.
In the region served by Areti’s distribution network there are also 9,174 customers eligible for the electricity bonus, 21% more than the 7,556 customers in 2017, (8,925 for economic hardship, 249 for physical hardship), 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. 11). Solely within the area of Rome and province, managed through Acea Ato 2, there are about 690,000 users and a served population equal to about 3.7 million people. Starting from this area – Ato 2-Central Lazio – the Group, over time, has progressively expanded its activities, becoming the reference operator also in other Optimal Areas of Operation (ATO) 30 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). The Group also operates in a number of South American countries.
25 See the Annual report on the status of services and activities carried out, 2018 edition (on 2017 data), Structure, pricing and quality in the electricity sector available online on the Authority’s (ARERA) website; the Authority specifies that the data are to be considered provisional.
26 The relevant national Authority accurately defines the energy market segments. See the Glossario della bolletta elettrica [a glossary of the electricity bill] on theARERA website.
27 See the Annual report on the status of services and activities carried out, 2018 edition (on 2017 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: https://www.arera.it/it/ bonus_sociale.htm.
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.
30 The national territory, according to law no 36/1994, so-called “Galli Law” as implemented in the Single Text 152/2006 which reorganised water services, is divided into Optimal Territorial Environments that take account of hydrographic basins. For the OTE in which Acea is operational, see also section Water company data sheet and overseas activities (outside of the consolidated non-financial Statement boundary pursuant to Legislative Decree 254/2016).
SUSTAINABILITY OF WATER SERVICES: ARREARS AND WATER BONUSES
In 2017, ARERA intervened, as far as its competence is concerned, on the issues of reducing arrears and social tariffs, which are the subject of two Decrees of the Prime Minister. With regard to the issue of arrears, in 2018 the Authority published the consultation document 80/2018 which, confirming the regulatory guidelines already emerged in the previous DCO 603/2017 31, delved into the measures aimed at greater protection of residential domestic users, like the provision not to proceed with the deactivation of the supply by termination of the contract and removal of the meter, and the prohibition on charging penalties for reactivating the supply. The measure illustrates the categories of end users who cannot be disconnected, the timing and methods for the notice of default, for deactivation, for suspension (to be carried out only when limitation is not technically feasible), for limitation and reactivation of the supply that has been suspended due to arrears. With regard to disablement, the Authority proposes to extend its definition to domestic users in whose household there are people in a state of physical distress.
As regard the social tariff, by resolution 897/2017 ARERA approved the integrated text regarding application procedures for the social water bonus for the supply of water to domestic users under economic hardship (TIBSI). The TIBSI identifies the beneficiaries of the bonus for resident domestic users under ascertained economic social hardship, in the same way as this happens in the electricity and gas sector, based on specific thresholds of the ISEE indicator.
The total amount of the subsidy is calculated by each operator according to family numbers (pro capital basis), applying the preferential tariff to the essential quantity of water required to satisfy the demand to be safeguarded (18.25 m3/inhabitant/year, about 50 litres/inhabitant/day). Without prejudice to the faculty for the Governing Entities of the Sector to introduce, or confirm further measures of protection to the benefit of users under economically vulnerable conditions through granting a supplementary water bonus. The provisions on social water bonuses applied throughout the country from 1 January 2018, while the possibility of applying for bonuses began on 1 July 2018.
In April 2018, with Resolution ARERA 227/18 (“Procedure for applying for the social water bonus for economically disadvantaged domestic users”), the Authority introduced the necessary amendments and additions to the TIBSI to ensure the concrete implementation of the new discipline, and in August 2018, with Resolution 14/DACU/18, the detailed procedures for the validation of requests for the social water bonus as well as the procedures for the recognition of the oneoff compensation component corresponding to what the users concerned could have received if they had had the opportunity to apply on 1 January 2018.
During 2018, between July and December, Acea Ato 2 received 3,043 applications for water bonuses, Acea Ato 5 1,527 applications (individuals and apartment complexes) and Gesesa received 753 applications for water bonuses from residential domestic users.
TABLE NO. 11 - SOCIAL INDICATORS: ACEA GROUP CUSTOMERS (ENERGY AND WATER SECTORS) (2016-2018)
|ENERGY AND GAS SALES (Acea Energia)|
|more protected market||(no. withdrawal points)||942,873||892,877||832,719|
|free market - mass market||(no. withdrawal points)||247,022||275,688||286,714|
|free market - large customers||(no. withdrawal points)||44,666||43,020||44,364|
|free market gas||(no. redelivery points)||148,832||167,337||172,755|
|total||(no. supply contracts)||1,383,393||1,378,922||1,336,552|
|ENERGY DISTRIBUTION (Areti)|
|domestic customers, low voltage||(no. withdrawal points)||1,309,366||1,316,339||1,319,118|
|non-domestic customers, low voltage||(no. withdrawal points)||312,808||311,141||307,961|
|customers at medium voltage||(no. withdrawal points)||2,863||2,886||2,894|
|customers at high voltage||(no. withdrawal points)||7||7||7|
|total||(no. withdrawal points)||1,625,044||1,630,373||1,629,980|
|WATER SALE AND DISTRIBUTION (main water companies of Acea Group)|
|Acea Ato 2||(no. users)||628,078||649,319||689,827|
|Acea Ato 5||(no. users)||185,610||194,360||197,821|
|Publiacqua (*)||(no. users)||390,486||393,099||395,675|
|Acquedotto del Fiora (*)||(no. users)||231,266||231,648||231,563|
|Umbra Acque||(no. users)||231,485||232,910||233,405|
|Acea Ato 2 (*)||(population served)||3,522,055||3,631,529||3,703,160|
|Acea Ato 5||(population served)||470,000||481,000||469,836|
|Publiacqua (*)||(population served)||1,242,739||1,242,649||1,244,295|
|Acquedotto del Fiora (*)||(population served)||403,861||403,084||403,016|
|Gori||(population served)||1,430,774||1,439,091||1,446,004 (**)|
|Umbra Acque (*)||(population served)||504,966||504,155||502,065|
(*) Some data relating to users and population served for the two-year period 2016 and 2017 have been corrected.
(**) Resident population as at 1 January 2018.
31 - The guidelines issued by the Authority in DCO 603/17 referred in particular to the letter of formal notice, the suspension of the supply, compensation in the event of incorrect action of default and the timing and method of reactivation of the supply suspended for default. The Authority had also highlighted guidelines related to procedures for arrears management in the case of condominium users, to identifying defaulting users who cannot be disconnected, to arranging instalments of both invoiced amounts and the cautionary deposit.