Development and Strategic plan

2012 was a particularly important year due to a number of elements of profound innovation - which at national level characterised both the energy and the water sectors - in the discipline and in the overall prospects, consequently also affecting Acea’s development policies.

With regard to the water sector, further to the issue of a Prime Minister’s Decree, dated 20 July, the Gas and electricity authority undertook its own regulation and control activities also for this sector. The first measures adopted by the Authority concerned the drafting of the transitory method for determining the tariffs pertaining to the integrated water service for the two-year period 2012-2013 and the approval of the first directive for the transparency of bills. These initial measures, aimed at the creation of a clearer and more stable regulatory framework, protecting operators and customers, represent the best premise so that, as has already taken place in the energy sector, an innovative turn around to a fundamental segment for the socio-economic and environment development of the country may take root (in this connection, see the section Customers and the Community , The tariffs).

Significant elements which affected the energy sector, increasingly qualifying due to the future implications of the same, included the National Energy Strategy, presented by the Government in October. The idea is, by means of this programming document, to provide Italy with a modern energy sector, as the cornerstone for its sustainable growth. In order to achieve the results envisaged by the EU 20-20-20 objectives, reduce dependency on abroad, also with a view to mitigation of the geo-political risks, and align the Italian energy bill prices with the European ones, seven priorities are envisaged, including the promotion of energy efficiency, transversal fundamental principle, the sustainable development of renewable energies and traditional sources generated in Italy, research and development activities into cutting edge technologies and the furthering of a competitive gas and electricity market integrated with the EU area.

Furthermore, again in the electricity sector, the fourth regulation period (2012-2015) was launched, via which the Gas and electricity authority also disciplines the technical and commercial quality of the energy distribution and sales services, including increasingly challenging elements in the performances set  for the companies.

These aspects, mentioned in summary form, bear witness to the changes which have taken place over the last few years in Italy and the tension with regard to the expansion and consolidation of the results achieved in the development of network services, to the benefit of market operators and consumers alike.

In February 2012, Acea approved the new Group Business Plan, for the period 2012-2016. The Group’s growth is defined according to five strategic lines which envisage: the enhancement of its position in the regulated activities, consolidating the position of leadership in the running of the integrated water services and the operating excellence in electricity distribution; the implementation of the projects already present in the Waste management area for the entrepreneurial management of the waste and the development of additional new initiatives; the attention towards energy efficiency and the new technologies for managing the networks (smart grids); the creation of value for the shareholders by means of the increase of the profitability of the businesses and the creation of a sustainable dividend plan; the improvement  of the debt position, despite the presence of a significant investment plan, partly thanks to the activities for reducing outstanding loans.

The economic terms, the objectives set are to achieve annual growth in the EBITDA of 6.2% so as to arrive in 2016 with a value of Euro 874 million. The investments envisaged in the five-year period amount to Euro 2.3 billion, around 70% of which employed in the water sector and in electricity distribution.

The implementation of the strategies disclosed above is achieved by means of commitments and objectives at individual activity area level, illustrated in the following general points.

STRATEGIC LINES OF THE ACEA 2012-2016 BUSINESS PLAN

Business areaStrategy
waste management: waste-to-energy and environmental services 
  • completion of the projects already launched for the extension/revamping of the waste-to-energy, organic waste treatment and composting plants
  • development of new ventures, also under partnership with other operators
energy: generation, supply and sale of electricity and gas  
  • development of energy supply policies suitable for covering the sale and defending the commercial margins
  • optimisation of the customer mix and development of dual fuel offers

  • completion of the repowering of the hydroelectric plants and launch of the repowering of the Tor di Valle plant
water: integrated water service (aqueduct, distribution, treatment, sewers) 
  • consolidation of the leadership position in the Italian water market
  • investments for the existing networks and plants envisaged in the various Area Plans
networks: electricity distribution, energy efficiency, technological innovation, public lighting service and photovoltaic
  • implementation of new smart grid projects
  • energy efficiency initiatives
  • modernisation measures and operating efficiency of the distribution networks

Business development in 2012

WATER

Italy and Abroad 

  • no new acquisitions or corporate equity investments were registered in the water sector in Italy or abroad while consolidation continued of existing operating activities Following the launch of the regulatory activities of the AEEG (Gas and electricity authority) in the water sector, scenario studies and impact analysis were carried out on the activities inherent to aspects of the primary intervention of the Authority (provisional tariff, system data collation, bill information) and the institutional consultations on regulatory proceedings were participated in.

NETWORKS

Distribution 

  • technological innovation activities for the management of the networks (smart grids and energy accumulation batteries) are further developed and consolidated. 
  • further to experimental initiatives launched last year, by means of the agreement entered into with Rome City council and Enel, for the installation of an interoperable recharging network for electrical vehicles, the development of electrical mobility came into being in Rome.

Photovoltaic 

  • At year end, Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici sold off the group of photovoltaic installations in Puglia, Lazio and Campania and maintained the activities for the design, construction and running of solar power installations on behalf of third parties.

Co-generation (combined production of electricity and thermal energy)

  • The project management activities for the construction of the co-generation plants serving the business complex “Europarco” continued in line with the programme established by the customer. An application was presented for sole authorisation to construct and run the tri-generation plant for SOGEI (the Ministry for the Economy and Finance). The final planning has been completed for the initiatives inherent to the Laurentino shopping centre and the Cinecittà World theme park.

Public lighting 

  • the reorganisation of the activities relating to the management of public lighting was approved, envisaging the transfer of the Acea Distribuzione business segment to Acea Illuminazione Pubblica SpA, and identifying the latter as the party appointed to manage the service. A total of 2,387 new lighting units were installed, of which 559 using LED technology.

Energy

Production 

  • repowering work was completed on the Salisano and Orte hydroelectric installation, for the purpose of the acknowledgement of green certificates, and they were re-started up;
  • production from plants (thermo and hydroelectric) came to around 373 GWh, almost exclusively of renewable origin (around 97% from hydroelectric).
  • energy produced by the waste-to-energy process involving WDF came to around 218 GWh (50% from renewable energy sources).

Sales 

  • Acea Energia customers with contracts on the eligible electricity market increased by 8% with respect to last year, and the number of customers which avail themselves of the company for the supply of gas is now close to 100 thousand;
  • new products and services have been developed: the dual fuel offer supplemented by a service agreement for domestic installations; on-line apps for both PC and smartphones available to customers, for the immediate, customised and decentralised handling of a wide range of supply aspects (remote payments, sms/e-mail notifications, e-bills, own readings).

Waste Management

  • with the full up and running of the two lines of the San Vittore del Lazio plant, around 220,000 tons of WDF were processed for the production of electricity; 
  • the operations of the WDF production plant at Paliano (FR) recommenced, after a shutdown of nearly two years, achieving around 22,000 tons of waste derived fuel;
  • further to the agreement entered into between the Italian Ministry for the Environment and the corresponding ministry of the City of Mexico, Aquaser was selected for the implementation of a pilot project for the sustainable production of bioenergy, biofertilizer and treated water from organic waste. The plant will be completed during 2013.
  • Aquaser guaranteed the handling of around 205,000 tons of treatment waste from some of the main water companies in the Group, launching around 75% for recovery by means of composting and 4% by means of direct spreading in agriculture.