The company as stakeholder

Acea protects and turns to account its tangible and intangible assets, moving in the wake of a sustainable financial position, governing the internal requirements linked to operations and the growth prospects on a consistent basis with the stances expressed in the corporate mission and the 2012-2016 strategic Plan.

Investments made in 2012, amounted to Euro 513.2 million, up by around 24.3% with respect to the Euro 413 million in 2011. In detail, the over Euro 120 million attributable to the corporate area stands out, consequent mainly to the purchase, at the start of the year, of the institutional headquarters in Piazzale Ostiense, Rome. Investments in the energy area and the environment area rose. In the first case, they rose from Euro 22.5 million in 2011 to around Euro 27.1 million in the year under review, essentially in relation to the repowering of the hydroelectric plants of Acea Produzione. In the second case, the commitment with regard to revamping activities carried out on the Terni waste-to-energy plant and on the first line of the San Vittore del Lazio plant took investments to Euro 37.5 million compared with Euro 20.6 million in 2011. The water area reported a slight drop, with a volume of investments equal to Euro 223.4 million, compared with Euro 230 million in 2011. The networks area reported a drop of Euro 27 million, standing at around Euro 102 million, mainly attributable to the completion of the photovoltaic plants belonging to Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici.

Chart No. 33 – BREAKDOWN OF INVESTMENTS BY BUSINES SECTOR (2011-2012)

Chart No. 33 – BREAKDOWN OF INVESTMENTS BY BUSINES SECTOR (2011-2012)

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Amortisation, depreciation, provisions and writedowns, being components of the company’s self-financing, amounted to Euro 401.4 million (-7.4% with respect to the Euro 433.3 million in 2011). In detail, amortisation and depreciation remained more or less unchanged, at Euro 263.4 million. By contrast, there was an increase in writedowns of receivables, from Euro 55 million to Euro 83.5 million in 2012, mainly attributable to Acea Energia and the water companies in Lazio and Campania, offset by the considerable reduction in provisions, from Euro 113.5 million to Euro 54.5 million in 2012, consequent to the lower charges linked to both the redundancy and voluntary lay-off procedures for human resources and the regulatory risks pertaining to the water companies in Lazio and Campania.

The physical (physical business structures) and logical (intangible assets) protection of the company assets, the prevention of fraudulent phenomenon,the protection of privacy and sensitive data, reception and surveillance services are overseen, a centralised level, by the Asset Protection Unit of the Parent Company, with the support of the Heads of the Protection Management System (RSGP) identified within each Group company.

The protection of the information systems and the handling of IT security are overseen by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division which defines the operating policies and the standards for the protection of the information consistent with the model for the functioning of the organisation, the legal requirements and the objectives defined by the Safety and Protection Division.

Numerous internal procedures are operative within Acea, for guaranteeing the protection of the company assets, such as the procedures for the management and control of the accesses to the images registered by the video-surveillance system,etc. During 2012, a procedure was issued for the handling of the destruction of confidential documents which illustrates and regulates the methods for the controlled and certified destruction of confidential paper-based documents.

Acea SpA manages corporate protection centrally, seeing to the reception and security services also at the operational premises of Acea Energia, Acea Energia holding, Acea Produzione, Acea Distribuzione, LaboratoRI, Acea Ato 2, and Acea Ato 5. The company also oversees the security of the IT systems with measures aimed at safeguarding them from potential risks and violation of data; in 2012, with the supervision and co-ordination of the Parent Company, Acea Distribuzione and Acea Ato 2 carried out vulnerability tests on the remote control and monitoring systems for the respective networks.

For the purpose of improving the protection of the information and the related information systems in which it is archived, the Information and Communication Technology Division of the parent company undertook the following initiatives in 2012:

  • the creation of a Security Operation Center (SOC), for the improvement of the IT security standards, the decreases in incidents, the correlation of security alerts and the related monitoring;
  • the publication of a documental framework, dedicated to the security of the information system, in which the way in which to archive, handle and communicate corporate information are described, both at high level (policy) and at detailed level (operating instructions).

Each year, Acea carries out awareness raising measures in relation to the aspect of corporate protection aimed at increasing the security culture in-house and improving communication between the Protection Management System Managers (RSGP) of each Group company and the employees. With particular attention to this aspect, it is currently involved in the development of a portal dedicated to security.

Technological innovation is a further distinctive element of Acea’s strategic vision and is implemented in the various operating sectors of the company. Just consider the Geographic Information System – GIS for the mapping of the networks, progressively applied both in the water sector and the energy area; the district metering method for the detection of water losses, the remote control systems, the functional technologies for the reduction of the emissions at waste-to-energy plants, just to name a few (see the section Customers and the Community – The quality supplied – and Environmental issues).

During 2012, the updating of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system of the SAP application was carried out, an integrated management system which is used to handle significant information, permitting access to operating data for all the company Divisions, and the consolidation towards a sole platform was planned.

With regard to the development of process and product technological innovation projects in the environmental sphere, during 2012 Aquaser was identified - within the sphere of an inter-institutional agreement between the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea and the Mexican Ministry for the Environment - as the party to be entrusted with the realisation of a pilot project for the sustainable production of bio-energy, bio-fertilizers and purified water from organic waste in the City of Mexico. The project, featuring significant process innovations will be achieved in 2013  (see box in Environmental Issues).

Furthermore, the company SAO, which manages a landfill for urban waste in the area of the Municipality of Orvieto, is currently studying the implementation of management systems which make it possible to reduce the use of natural resources present in the landfill (clay and natural shale) so as to improve the filling of the waste and recover volumes useful for the extension of the operating life of the landfill.

Acea Distribuzione, the Group company which manages the infrastructures for the distribution of electricity, is very active with regard to technological innovation which ranges from the evolution of lighting design used in the public lighting services carried out in Rome, in particular with the application of LEDs, to the development of functional applications for energy efficiency and the even more challenging frontier of the “smart” grids, with the Smart grid pilot project and the Smart-network Management System project (see Customers and the community, Quality supplied in the energy area and Environmental Issues)

In conclusion, Acque - within the sphere of the “Premio Firenze Produttiva 2012” - was awarded a prize by the Florence Chamber of Commerce for having distinguished itself due to the activities carried out to the benefit of the socio-economic fabric of the area, receiving the gold medal in the patents category for research and applications activities regarding the photostabilisation of the sludge from treatment plants by means of treatment in situ.

Measures taken by the Sector authorities vis-à-vis Acea: preliminary investigations, bonuses and fines

The penalty and fine system established by the Gas and Electricity Authority (AEEG) vis-à-vis the companies which operate on the electricity market contributes towards inciting the companies to improve their performances. Over the last few years, Acea Distribuzione has achieved important results, with constant improvements in the electricity supply continuity performances, both with regard to the number of black outs and their duration, thus obtaining the acknowledgment of economic bonuses, as from the performances registered in 2008 and from then on each year. Once again in 2012, for the service results relating to 2011, the AEEG approved the payment to Acea Distribuzione of an incentive amounting to around Euro 5.49 million (Resolution 500/2012/R/EEL).

In November 2012, the AEEG, within the sphere of its control functions on operators involved in the sale of electricity, launched a sanctioning procedure (Resolution 462/2012/S/EEL) vis-à-vis Acea Energia in relation to: failure to observe the frequency of the billing of electricity; calculation of the amounts on the basis of estimated consumption despite the presence of metered data communicated and failure to respect the quality standards in response to the requests for information from customers.

In January 2012, the Anti-trust Authority (AGCM) concluded the procedure launched in the previous year (PS 7647). By means of this initiative, the AGCM intended to ascertain whether the closure during the August Bank Holiday period in 2011 of the sales counters of Acea Energia and Acea Ato 2,open to the public at the headquarters in Piazzale Ostiense, represented incorrect commercial practice: the Authority did not recognise any reprehensible conduct in the case in question.

During 2012, the Authority for the Supervision of Public Contracts for work, services and supplies (AVCP), a body tasked with checking the observance of the rules which discipline the subject of public contracts, during the preliminary investigation procedures vis-à-vis Acea, formulated recommendations with regard to the methods to be used for making changes to tender calls, published by Acea in its capacity as contractor.

Another measures of the AVCP refers to Acea Energia and concerned the direct entrusting of the agency agreement in favour of a business partner: this contract was deemed legitimate on conclusion of the preliminary investigation carried out.

In the public lighting area, the performances of the service carried out in the Municipality of Rome reported an improvement also for the year under review, thereby confirming the positive trend started in 2010. The percentage of measures on faults carried out beyond the maximum deadlines established by the contract fell from 0.6% (2011) to 0.5% (2012); on the basis of this result, Acea was fined for an overall amount of around Euro 26 thousand, down by 13% with respect to the Euro 30 thousand last year.

With regard to disputes concerning environmental issues with the appointed public authorities (Arpa, the Forestry Commission, etc.) please see the section Environmental issues and the Environmental Accounts.