The tariffs

The electricity tariff   

The Italian electricity sales market is divided up into two separate segments: the “eligible market”, in which the consumer directly handles the supply relationship with the chosen operator , and the “protected service”, where the customer receives the service under the contractual and tariff conditions56established by the Gas and Electricity Authority (AEEG), the national regulation body for the sector (see the related box under Electricity and gas service customers).

The costs shown on the energy bill cover three expense items: the sales service, that of the network and the taxes due.

The sales service, which represents the most significant economic item, besides being that subject to free competition in the eligible market segment57, includes the prices which the supplier incurs for the purchase, marketing and dispatch of energy for the customer. The network service, whose tariff is uniformly established by the AEEG, regards energy transport and distribution activities as far as the meter and the so-called general system charges (including incentives for renewable sources, promotion of energy efficiency, system research and electric bonus). In conclusion, the indirect taxes, applied on the quantity of energy consumed and on the total final cost of the bill.

The protected service to-date is still the reference segment for Italian domestic customers58 (individuals and households), with a participation rate of around 80% when compared with the total population. In this segment, during 2012 a further increase was seen in the price of electricity with regard to 2011: with regard to standard consumption (equal to 2,700 kWh/year, with a power supply of 3 kW), the cost per kWh rose from 16.2 Euro cents last year (equal to around Euro 437 per annum) to 18.7 Euro cents (equal to roughly Euro 505 euro per annum)59. In the breakdown of the cost components, as shown in the following chart, the increases registered for the energy component and for the general system charges stand out.

Chart No. 19 – ELECTRICITY PRICE TREND FOR A TYPICAL HOUSEHOLD CONSUMER (€ CENTS/KWH) (2011 -2012)

Chart No. 19 – ELECTRICITY PRICE TREND FOR A TYPICAL HOUSEHOLD CONSUMER (€ CENTS/KWH) (2011 -2012)

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Source: Electricity and Gas Authority website (www.autorità.energia.it) – statistical data

56 The tariffs are established by the AEEG and updated each quarter, on the basis of the costs which the Sole Buyer (AU) incurs for supplying the needs of protected customers on electricity wholesale markets.
57 The commitments which the free market operators must meet in order to carry out their activities in compliance with the principles of fair competition, include that of making a comparability chart of the costs available to their potential customers. This contains the cost which the average consumer would incur by complying with the free offer of the proponent, compared with the cost calculated as per the conditions established by the AEEG for the protected market.
58 On the basis of the number of energy withdrawal points used by customers (AEEG figures).
59 Average values in the four quarters of 2011 and 2012 (AEEG figures).

With regard to the protected service, total customers who have a digital meter capable of reading the consumption in different time brackets are served, as envisaged by the AEEG, according to a dual phase tariff. This system rewards consumption used during the evening hours, at the weekend or on public holidays with minor energy costs for the customer with respect to that which takes place in the central hours of the day and on weekdays.

On the eligible market, the percentage of customers served by means of a contract which envisages the dual phase electricity supply comes to 7%. This is likewise in relation to the greater possibility of choice for the eligible market customers between different price structures (single phase at a fixed price, all-inclusive tariffs, etc.), specifically introduced by operators in order to meet the different needs of the end customers, in terms of consumption profiles.

  With regard to users who avail of the social tariff system (so-called “electricity bonus”), or rather households which are guaranteed a saving on electricity costs since they find themselves in difficult economic conditions or they have particularly large families60, in 2012 Acea Energia served around 18,000 users, guaranteeing them a saving of more than Euro 1.36 million. Again in the year under review, Acea Energia served around 340 customers who found themselves suffering physical difficulties, since they are forced to use electromedical equipment which uses a great deal of power, indispensable for their survival.

Sales activities of Acea Energia on the eligible market, as mentioned, aim to satisfy the various needs in relation to the types of customers: from households to large industrial clients. On the one hand, in fact, customers have accrued more complex and precise needs: from the search for the most convenient price, in fact, in a short space of time we have moved on to the request for all-round energy advice, where the price factor weighs in marginally. On the other hand, the electricity and natural gas sales companies present on the market operate in a competitive context, where the ability to differentiate from the others and be in a position to offer the most integrated service possible throughout the energy supply chain, also inclusive of the joint supply of electricity and gas, is decisive.

With a view to this, Acea Energia structured the 2012 commercial proposals adapting the available options to the evolution of customers’ needs (see related box).

  BoxThe commercial proposals for electricity in 2012 

Acea Energia’s 2012 commercial proposals to the mass market segment - residential customers, commercial activities and small and medium-sized businesses - were divided up with a view to developing the ranges launched in 2011, by means of specific promotions for determinate client targets or involving the integration of services on the supply of energy.

In detail, the Acea Unica product, in the single and dual phase versions for domestic customers, was renewed with the integration of an insurance policy which envisages assistance and repairs for domestic installations (electrical, hydraulic, heating/water), completely free for 12 months. The insurance product offered to the customers, involving an unlimited number of measures during the year and a maximum amount per measure of Euro 1,000, represents an important sales and, at the same time, loyalty-retention asset.

Attention was also focused on the expansion of the available services, with the aim of permitting the customer the most autonomous and simple management of their energy supply. Specifically, the online counter on the Acea Energia website, which had already been revamped in terms of graphics, navigation and usability, has been enhanced and enriched with the launch of various services (electricity and gas meter self-readings, bills on-line, payments on-line by means of Visa and Mastercards without commission charges; SMS and email notification on issue, amount and due date of the bills). Thanks to the new functions, the client is able to manage their energy supply with considerable savings in terms of time, ease and security.

Of particular importance, what is more, is the identification of a new customer segment, that of small businesses, defined with the aim of more efficiently handling those customers  with consumption not typically similar to that of business customers but with specific needs different to those of residential household customers. Acea Energia reserves the support of a network of qualified consultants for the above, capable of ensuring the necessary assistance during the contractual negotiation stage, which takes place with a set of tendentially standardised offers, and for all the post-sales requirements.

With regard to business and industrial customers, negotiation takes place on a one-to-one basis, where the customer can benefit from the support of a dedicated account for the identification of the most suitable formula for their energy profile. Acea Energia is also willing to meet the needs for respect and safeguarding of the environment, supplying CO-FER certified energy, in other words that deriving from plants fuelled by renewable sources.

60For an analysis of the conditions which entitle customers to request and receive the electricity bonus, please refer to the specific section on the AEEG website: http://www.autorita.energia.it/it/bonus_sociale.htm.

During the year, Acea Energia renewed the agreement entered into with Rome Confcommercio so as to offer all the tertiary businesses who are associates of this organisation access to electricity and gas supply services under facilitated conditions, thereby setting up a preferential relationship with the client companies which envisages the proposal to block the price of energy on the eligible market for 12 months, protecting it from market fluctuations.

The aspects underlying this agreement with Confcommercio include that of contributing towards safety in the city: the advantageous cost of the energy in fact has the aim of encouraging commercial activities to leave their store signs on also during permitted night-time hours, for the purpose of ensuring greater illumination of roads and thus greater safety.

The water service tariff     

After the formal transfer to the AEEG of the water services regulation and control functions at national level, which took place last year61, in October 2012, by means of Italian Presidential Decree, the related powers and duties of the Authority were precisely defined.

The AEEG has been appointed to carry out all the acts necessary for pursuing a fair, sure, accountable and non-discriminatory tariff system, suitable for ensuring the management of the water service under conditions of efficiency and economic-financial balance, in light of the EU principles of full cost recovery (full coverage of the industrial and environments costs of the services) and the principles of “who pollutes pays”.

As a result of initial reflection the AEEG, after the public consultations launched for cognitive purposes and the involvement of the stakeholders concerned, issued two resolutions which concern tariffs and the bill62.

By means of the first, the transitory method was established for the establishment, by the related regional authorities appointed, of the tariffs valid for the years 2012-2013. This method63, which features a boost towards the standardisation of the entire water cycle, introduces a number of significant innovations to the benefit of the users, also acknowledging the consequences of the 2011 abrogative referendum. These includes: the suppression of the remuneration of the invested capital, among the items which make up the tariff, with recognition of the cost of the financial resource incurred by the operator; the identification of the moment of payment of the investment costs as from the effective construction and bringing onto stream of the works. The Authority also envisaged a change limit for the tariff which will be established using the new method, for the two-year period in question.

The second resolution concerns the minimum content of the information present in the billing documents, their transparency and accessibility, for the purpose of making the water bills simple and understandable, thus encouraging a more widespread awareness of the services and an improved performance of their role by the consumer. As a result of this provision, the operators - on the basis of precise deadlines - were also made responsible for the obligation to strengthen on-line interaction with the customers (telephone and web-based), for example publishing the following on their respective websites: the Service Charter, information on the quality of the services and the resources provided, contractual conditions, complaints procedures and a glossary of the main terms in use within the service.

The effective average tariffs applied during 2012 by the leading Acea Group water companies are shown in table No. 42.

61 Italian Decree Law No. 201/11, the so-called ‘Salva-Italia’, then converted by means of Italian Law No. 214/11.
62 Respectively Resolution No. 585/2012/R/IDR and Resolution No. 586/2012/R/IDR.
63 Adopted for all the water management facilities with the exclusion of those which avail themselves of the CIPE method and the management facilities in the provinces of Trento, Bolzano and in the Valle d’Aosta region.

Table No. 42 – AVERAGE 2012 WATER TARIFFS APPLIED BY THE ACEA GROUP COMPANIES (2012)

Company €/mc
Lazio/Campania 
Acea Ato 2 SpA – Central Lazio 1.18
Acea Ato 5 SpA – Southern Lazio 1.36
Gori SpA – Sarnese Vesuviano 1.25
Tuscany/Umbria 
Acque SpA – Basso Valdarno 2.18
Publiacqua SpA – Medio Valdarno 2.17
Acquedotto del Fiora - Ombrone 2.10
Umbra Acque SpA – Umbria 1,88

Box - Tariff disputes 

With regard to the dispute outstanding between Acea Ato 5 and the local Area Authority (ATO 5 - Lazio Meridionale-Frosinone), the acting Commissioner, appointed by the TAR (Regional Administrative Court) in relation to the continuing inactivity of the ATO to take steps, during the year under review established the average effective tariff (TRM) valid for 2012. The Area Authority appealed against this decision to both the TAR and the Council of State, but in both cases the appeals were rejected. Before his alternation with the Chairman of the AEEG in June, the Commissioner also produced an in-depth analytical report, by means of which he checked the criteria for choosing the TRM and the related planning acts put together by the area body, along with the operations during the years from 2006 until 2011. The ATO also appealed against this report; the appeal is currently pending.

During 2012, developments were seen with regard to a number of petitions, presented by local Committees and movements for public water together with a number of Consumer associations, which concerned the two water companies invested in by Acea: Gori, operative with the Campania ATO 3 - Sarnese-Vesuviano area, and Acque, which manages the service in ATO 2 - Basso Valdarno in Tuscany

With regard to Gori, the TAR upheld the claim of the proponents who requested the cancellation of the increase in the tariffs for 2011 laid down by means of resolution issued in the same year by the competent Area Authority. Both Acea and the Body appealed to the Council of State, requesting, and obtaining the upholding, of the suspension of the effects of the TAR sentence until sentencing in this connection, currently awaited. Accordingly, the billing activities were resumed on the basis of the opposed resolution, thereby making it possible to permit the guarantee of operations carried out by GORI.

With regard to Acque,two petitions were presented before the TAR against the resolution issued by the Area Authority in December 2011. The disputed aspects concerned the 5-year extension of the duration for the entrusting of the service to the company, with respect to the deadline envisaged for 2021, and the failure to abolish from the reviewed tariff - as would by contrast have come about as a result of the referendum results - the component remunerating the invested capital. The proceedings as of 31 December 2012 were underway.