The relationship with the institutions

Relations between Acea and institutions affect both the economic dimension (paying duties and taxes) and the social dimension (dealings with local institutions, with sector Authorities, dialogue with Consumer Associations and other representatives of the general public, professional and institutional cooperation, etc.) on a consistent basis with current legislation and the Group’s value codes.

The economic value distributed to public administration authorities in 2012, under the form of taxes, amounted to approximately Euro 88.8 million (Euro 65.6 million in 2011). The tax rate for the year was equal to 51% (42.1% last year). The overall increase in the tax liability was the result of the joint effect of the increase in pre-tax income, the IRES surtax affecting Acea Distribuzione on the basis of the matters envisaged by Italian Decree Law No. 138/11 (so-called  Robin Hood Tax) and the payment of the taxes on capital gains generated and essentially tax exempt last year, consequent to the winding up of the AceaElectrabel joint venture.

 Acea regularly pays contributions and membership fees to other public and private bodies, such as the chambers of commerce and the independent administrative authorities, the sector associations and the representative bodies. In 2012, the overall total of this item came to around Euro 2.5 million, unchanged with respect to the previous year. In detail, around Euro 1.30 million was paid to the supervisory authorities (AEEG, Consob and other public service authorities), around Euro 100,000 was incurred as mandatory charges for chambers of commerce and Euro 1.09 million for contributions to confederal bodies and for sundry membership fees  (Federutility, Confservizi, Unione Industriali).

The institutions are a preferential partner with whom to carry out measures for the social and economic development of the area, the containment of the impacts deriving from the construction of structural works, the increase of the level of quality of life, also by virtue of the essential nature of the services provided by the Group (see sections Customers and the community, Human resources and Environmental issues).

Acea interacts with the various institutional parties in observance of the principles and regulations confirmed in the Group’s value codes. In 2012, the Group’s new Ethical Code was approved which dedicates Article 19 to dealings with institutions, Public Administration Authorities, political parties and trade union organisations, establishing that:

 «Acea does not contribute in any way to the funding of political or trade union parties, movements, committees or organisations, even if they have the legal nature of association or foundation instrumental for the same, or their representatives or candidates. 

Dealings between the Company and political and trade union organisations, with regard to aspects of company interest, aspire to reciprocal respect and collaboration.

Each relationship must be authorised by the appointed structures, paying particular attention to avoiding situations in which conflicts of interest may take place between Acea and those of the individual authorised to establish relations with the political or trade union organisation.

In any event, Acea refrains from conduct aimed at exercising pressure, direct or indirect, on political or trade union representatives in order to obtain benefits».

An organisational model is in force in Acea which ensures adequate coverage of the handling of institutional relations, defining appointments and responsibilities assigned to the various corporate Divisions in an precise manner. In accordance with this model, Acea SpA’s Chairman ensures the legal representation and the definition of the institutional strategies; the Institutional Affairs Division ensures the overall representation of the Group positions care of the local, national and European bodies and institutions, monitors the developments in the pertinent legislative scenario for the corporate businesses and co-ordinates, within the sphere of dealings with the Consumer Associations, the activities correlated to joint conciliation procedures;  the Corporate Affairs Division sees to the communications and notifications to the Supervisory authorities on companies and the stock market (Borsa and Consob); the Regulatory Division oversees the dealings with the Regulatory Authorities in the reference sectors, representing the positions of the Group companies in the participative procedures for the formation of the regulations launched by authorities, bodies and institutions.

Together with the Parent Company, the Group operating companies see to the handling of the “technical-specialist” aspects of the water, electricity and public lighting services managed, also by means of consultation with the various administrative, regulatory and control bodies.

The initiatives, projects and studies which Acea achieves in synergy with the appointed institutions and research bodies concern social and environmental, security and protection of public heritage spheres, technological innovation, some of which are illustrated below.

With regard to the subject of security, understood as prevention and handling of emergencies, Acea takes part in specific work groups making its skills available.

In detail, for the identification and protection of the Key Infrastructures, it takes part in the work of the Interministerial Technical Commission for Civil Defence (C.I.T.D.C – Home Office); each year, it intervenes throughout the area in particular situations of alarm or emergency – , for example, in 2012 there was the snowfall emergency in the capital and surrounding area - with the co-ordination of the Civil Defence Agency (also see Customers and the Community, Quality supplied in the water area). In conclusion, for the definition and protection of strategic infrastructures and services, it collaborates with the work of the National Security Monitoring Centre (OSN) - furthered by the Ministry of Defence’s Military Centre for Strategic Studies (CeMISS) - together with government representatives for Defence, Health and Civil Protection, the main public services operators and qualified representatives from academic circles.

The main initiatives carried out in 2012 by the National Security Monitoring Centre (OSN) which Acea took part in were:

  • the 33rd COCIM IV COURSE - national emergency exercisefor civil and military collaboration: a course aimed at providing the military and civilians with an updated framework of the legislation and procedures in force with regard to civil defence, civil protection, civil-military co-operation and civil planning of emergencies within the national, UNO, NATO and EU sphere;
  • the Cyber World Work Group, a national think tank for institutions and businesses,whose mission isto create an interdisciplinary cyber security culture  with the aim of increasing cohesion between the public and private sphere. During 2012, on the basis of theoutcome of the 2011 workshop “Cybernetic security in the scenario of civil and military co-operation, the “Cyber World” Work Group looked in-depth at the topics of protection of Key Infrastructures from cyber attacks, also in relation to possible scenarios concerning Hacktivism, CyberWar and CyberWarfare. Acea provided its contribution within the sphere of the sub-group which sees to technological and terminological aspects.

With reference environmental aspects, Acea takes part in the Permanent Round Table established care of the Ministry for the Environment for the definition of the “Minimum Environmental Criteria” (CAM) which goods and services must comply with in order to be admitted to the National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement (PAN GGP)91; on conclusion of the discussion procedure, the document will be issued in the form of a Ministerial Decree.

The partnership between Acea and the local public administration authorities, and in particular Rome City Council, made it possible to achieve important initiatives within the sphere of the Action plan for sustainable energy in the city, such as the sustainable mobility project in Rome and Lazio and that for eco-sustainable growth in Rome. Furthermore, Acea takes part in the task-force for the protection and recovery of public spaces and urban green areas.

Acea is a member of Research centres, Standardisation bodies and Sector associations, promoting the same or contributing towards specific research activities in the businesses in which it operates (see related box).

91 The PAN GPP envisages that the Ministry for the Environment defines the “Minimum Environmental Criteria ” (CAM), which represent a benchmark at national level with regard to green public purchases and which may be used by the contractors, in order to permit the Action Plan on Green Public Procurement to maximise the environmental and economic benefits. Green Purchases or GPP (Green Public Procurement) is defined by the European Commission as «(...) a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured».

Membership of Research centres, Standardisation bodies and Sector associations in 2012

The main memberships renewed or started up in 2012:

  • Associazione Amici dell’Accademia dei Lincei;
  • Associazione Amici della Luiss;
  • AGICI - Finanza d’Impresa;
  • the Einaudi Foundation;
  • the Utilitatis Foundation (Studies and research centre of water, energy and environment);
  • CSR Manager Network Italia (Altis and ISVI);
  • the Global Compact (UNO);
  • Istituto di Ricerche per l’Economia e la Finanza (REF);
  • Istituto di Economia delle Fonti di Energia, IEFE – Bocconi;
  • Associazione Italiana esperti Infrastrutture Critiche (AIIC);
  • Associazione Italiana Professionisti della Security Aziendale (AIPSA);
  • Associazione Elettrotecnica ed Elettronica Italiana (AEI);
  • Associazione Idrotecnica Italiana (AII);
  • Comitato Elettrotecnico Italiano (CEI);
  • Istituto Unificazione Italiano (UNI);
  • Associazione Italiana di Illuminazione (AIDI);
  • Italian Association for Trenchless Technology (IATT);
  • the World Energy Council (WEC);
  • Federazione Italiana per l’uso Razionale dell’Energia (FIRE);
  • Distretto Tecnologico Nazionale sull’Energia (Di.T.NE.);
  • ISES Italia (International Solar Energy Society - Italian Section);
  • I-Com (Institute for Competitiveness);
  • Agenzia Nazionale per le Nuove Tecnologie, l’Energia e lo Sviluppo Economico Sostenibile  (ENEA);
  • Energy and Strategy Group – Milan Polytechnic (ES-MIP).

Furthermore,, in order to encourage the development of initiatives of interest in the reference sectors, the Studies and Research Division operates within Acea, seeing to local, national and international analysis, study and research activities, on aspects of interest to the Group companies.

In detail, during 2012 Acea took part in two important studies in the water and electricity sector together with other operators:

  • The reform of the regulation of water services in Italy, a study carried out by IEFE-Università Bocconi, which offers an analysis of the impact of the reform of the water services, also in consideration of the referendum results in 2011. The analysis revolves around the concept of sustainability, identifying the various components (economic-financial, environment and social) and constructing a system of indicators around the same suitable for representing the sector performance in a systematic manner.
  • The improvement of the Market Design in relation to the forecast requirements of the system, a study achieved by the Economic and Finance Research Institute (REF), in which the current situation within the sphere of electricity generation is analysed and a hypothetical short and mid-term scenario is provided with ideas and proposals for overcoming the current criticalities.

The relationship between Acea and the institutions tasked with education and training of youngsters aims to create a profitable link between the world of employment and new talent.

As a point of fact, the company offers new graduates and high school leavers the opportunity of work experience within Group companies, makes available the professional expertise of its human resources as part of university courses and Masters’ degrees and supports, also via the disbursement of loans and scholarships, research activities or Masters’ courses on topics of interest (also see the section Human Resources).

Acea also offers its contribution within the sphere of specific research carried out on the subject of youth employment, such as the most sought-after professional skills for companies, the professional prospects offered by the employment market, etc.  

In particular, during 2012 Acea worked together with Tor Vergata University in Rome within the sphere of The communication, university and employment market survey achieved with the contribution of Ferpi. The research looked into the opportunities offered to youngsters who have just graduated or who are specialising, by the communications and public relations areas of the companies, interviewing 130 managers from the leading multinationals and Italian businesses. The results revealed that the companies seek new talent in various faculties (economics, marketing, communications), choose them on the basis of ability, level of preparation and experience matured and assign them to a predominant extent to institutional, product, digital communication, to public relations and social media, also hypothesising good professional growth prospects within five years of employment in the company.

Collaboration and partnerships between the Group operating companies and Universities also takes place within the sphere of technical projects carried out both in the environmental-energy and water spheres (see Research, under Environmental Issues).

Specifically, during 2012 specific collaboration was launched with the Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca sull'Inquinamento da Agenti Fisici (CIRIAF), Università La Sapienza/Cyber Intelligence and Information Security (CIS), the Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Internazionali sull'Economia e lo Sviluppo at Tor Vergata University (CEIS) and ENEA, for the purpose of taking part in the Smart Citiescall published by the Ministry for Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), for which Acea presented three projects: EUR 2015 (primary sphere Smart Grid), R.O.M.A. (primary sphere Area security) and Solutions for nearly zero energy town (primary sphere Sustainable architecture).

The company takes part in exchanges of views on topical matters and subjects of national and international importance between entrepreneurial circles, the scientific community, institutions and citizens and offers its specialist contribution during conferences and workshops which deal with matters associated with the businesses run.

During 2012, the company dedicated particular attention to the subject of sustainable mobility and the development of smart networks, taking part by means of company testimony in seminars, forums and specific events such as: Auto elettrica & efficienza energetica, the seminar on electric vehicles organised in Rome by Amici della Terra and by Arel,the Italian Smart Grid Forum 2012  on the role, challenges and opportunities for Italy in the spreading of smart grids, and MoTechEco 2012, the fifth sustainable mobility exhibition.

In order to actively oversee the evolution of the reference scenario, the company explores the market potentials and the possible synergies with other companies: in 2012, for example, following the memorandum of intent signed in 2011 between Acea and Enel, the agreement was finalised further by means of a new Memorandum of Intent also signed by Rome City Council which envisages the installation in Rome of 200 recharging stations for electric vehicles, equipped with a technology capable of ensuring the interoperability between both the infrastructures of the two companies and with the recharging points already installed by Enel as part of the E-Mobility Italy project (see Customers and the community, Quality supplied in the energy area).

Particular attention was also dedicated to the subject of energy saving by means of participation in dedicated conferences such as: the Conference presenting the Energy Efficiency Report of the Energy & Strategy Group.

Open to dialogue with the stakeholders, Acea listens to and assesses the legitimate requests of the customers, citizens and other entrepreneurial parties, also by means of interaction with the bodies which represent them: Federations, entrepreneurial trade, trade union and consumer protection Associations.

The Parent Company’s Institutional Affairs Division, among other responsibilities, has that of overseeing, via the Institutional Relations Unit and together with the Group operating companies, the handling of relations with consumer associations.

Acea has for some time adopted the joint mediation or settlement procedure, active, for the water sector, care of the companies Acea Ato 2 and Acea Ato 5 and, for the electricity sector, care of Acea Energia and, as from 2012, care of Acea Distribuzione, first case in Italy (see related box for details). The mediation activities address household customers resident in Lazio, represented and supported by the Consumer Associations recognised by the National Consumers and User Council - CNCU.

During 2012, access to the joint mediation procedure, whose documentation is available on-line on the websites of the companies involved, disclosed a significant increase with respect to last year. Overall, the requests conveyed to the Associations on behalf of customers of the companies Acea Energia, Acea Distribuzione, Acea Ato 2 and Acea Ato 5 admitted to the mediation procedure came to 296 (195 in 2011).

In detail, care of Acea Energia there were 157 requests for mediation; 3 reached Acea Distribuzione; while requests for mediation care of Acea Ato 2 and Acea Ato 5 come to 118 and 18 respectively.

Box – Acea Distribuzione involved in joint mediation: the first case in Italy

During 2012,Acea Distribuzione and the Consumer Associations which are members of the National Consumers and User Council, signed a Joint Mediation Protocol, the first in Italy activated by an electricity distribution operator.

The Protocol offers customers served by Acea Distribuzione, resident in Rome and Formello, a facilitated procedure for the settlement, in a short space of time and without costs, of any possible disputes with the company.

The customers, represented by an Association, can access the mediation procedure in relation to the cases envisaged by the Regulations - service continuity, equity aspects, technical-commercial performances, meter readings (malfunctioning of the meter and reconstruction of the record of the consumption) - and for written complaints which have received answers justifiably unsatisfactory or in relation to which Acea Distribuzione has not sent a reply within 40 days.