AEM, (the Azienda Elettrica Municipale) was established to supply electricity for public and private lighting.
In 1912 the Power Station in via Ostiense went into production, later named after the Councillor for Technology of the City of Rome, Nathan Giovanni Montemartini.
The construction of power stations
After the war, initiatives were taken for recovery and industrial development in the capital. The electricity supplied by AEM, the Administrative Commission of which included illustrious members such as Guglielmo Marconi, played a fundamental role in the modernisation of Rome. In 1923 the Company developed the Montemartini power station and moved its headquarters from piazza Monte d’Oro to via Milano. In 1926 AEM changed its name to Aeg, (the Azienda elettrica del Governatorato of Rome). There were almost 18 thousand street lamps, about 13 thousand more than in 1915, and the Castel Madama power station was developed to cater for growing demands. The Galileo Ferraris hydroelectric power station in Mandela began supplying electricity the following year.
Taking over the water service
With electricity demand on the increase in Rome due to the growing population and the boom in the building sector, in 1931-1933 Aeg increased the output of the Montemartini power station by installing two huge motors, identical to those that powered the transatlantic liner Rex when she broke all previous records on her Atlantic crossing.
On 2 September 1937, coming into effect from 1 January of that year, the Governorate of Rome entrusted the management of the municipal aqueducts and the construction and management of the Peschiera aqueduct to Aeg, which changed its name to Agea, (Azienda governatoriale elettricità e acque).
The war and the long road to recovery
On 8 May 1940 the Salisano hydroelectric power station, built into a cave on the route of the Peschiera aqueduct, went into service. A great deal of damage was caused to Rome’s power stations during the war. Only the Montemartini power station remained unscathed, and it was the only power station still producing electricity in 1944. After the liberation of Rome, Company technicians worked day and night to repair the damaged plants and put the power stations back into production. By the end of 1945, what had been known as Agea but was now called Acea (Azienda comunale dell’elettricità e delle acque) could guarantee a regular supply of electricity, although output was still lower than before the war. The Peschiera aqueduct started supplying water in 1949, with a fountain erected by Acea in piazzale degli Eroi.
Company plans for the city
On 30 March 1953 Rome's City Council approved Acea’s plan for electrical self-sufficiency and to improve the city’s waterworks. Urgent works had to be completed by 1958: power stations and sub-stations, water facilities, completion of the Peschiera aqueduct, surveying new groundwater sources and constructing new aqueducts. In 1954, the Orte hydroelectric power station named after Guglielmo Marconi and fed by water from the Nera went into production, to be followed in 1958 by the Sant’Angelo power station in Abruzzo. For the Rome 1960 Summer Olympics, Acea modernised the city’s public lighting systems, extending the service to many suburban areas in continuous expansion.
Acea consolidates its position in the drinking water sector
In 1962 the Azienda comunale dell’elettricità e delle acque (Electricity and Water Board of the City of Rome) transferred its headquarters to piazzale Ostiense. New street lamps were installed throughout the city of Rome as part of the development of the public lighting system. That same year, as a result of the nationalisation of the electricity service, Acea was obliged to transfer all the plants and systems built jointly with private electricity companies to Enel, so from 1969 Acea focused on improving the service, by rationalising and developing the distribution network. The Company put a plan into action to become the leader in the Italian water sector: on 14 October 1964, at the end of the concession held by the water company Società Acqua Pia Antica Marcia, Rome's City Council asked Acea to take over the Marcio aqueduct. On 7 November the Water Court confirmed the resolution passed by the City Council and Acea was now responsible for the capital’s entire drinking water supply.
Setting up a major aqueduct system
Acea continued to optimise the distribution system: constructing sub-stations, transformers and setting up a remote control system for the electricity network. Research was done into solar energy applications and plans were made for a cogeneration plant. The Company focused its investments on the water sector, upgrading water services in the suburbs of Rome. In 1971 the new Peschiera aqueduct taken from the left bank of the Tiber went into service, and in 1976 work started on the development of the Marcio aqueduct fed by water from new sources. In September 1976 the Municipal Authority approved Acea’s plan for upgrading the water and sanitary system as well as street lighting for 82 suburbs of Rome. In 1979, water taken from the Capore sources was used to supply the Peschiera-Capore aqueduct system, one of the largest in Europe.
Water treatment and the acquisition of new business segments
The Bracciano lake sewerage system was completed in 1984 and the relevant waste treatment plant went into service. In 1985 Acea took over the capital’s sewage treatment service. In 1984 the Tor di Valle cogeneration plant began supplying thermal energy for domestic district heating in the Torrino Sud district. In 1988 Acea refurbished the lighting of the Colosseum and also implemented a plan for developing the lighting around the Olympic stadium in preparation for the 1990 World Cup. In 1989 the Company took over the municipal public lighting system. In 1989 Acea changed its name to Azienda comunale dell’energia e dell’ambiente (Electricity and Environment Company of the City of Rome).
Listing on the stock exchange
In 1991 the Municipal Authority made Acea a Special Company and on 1 January 1998 the Company became a joint-stock company. Acea SpA has been quoted on the Italian stock exchange since 19 July 1999, and implemented an intensive spin-off policy. In 1996 the new Tor di Valle combined cycle plant went into service. There were major investments in artistic lighting from 1996 to 1999, which included: the Roman Forum, the Imperial Fora, the Palatine, the Circus Maximus, Palazzo Montecitorio and other grand halls such as the Capitol, Hadrian's Villa, Domus Aurea and the Papal Basilica of St. Peter. In 1993 the Eur water station went into service and the city’s waste treatment system was also upgraded. With the implementation of the “Galli” Act, Acea was nominated operator of the integrated water service for Ato 2 in Lazio.
A new Company name and the wealth economy
On 4 December 2000 the Company changed its name and launched an institutional campaign to promote economic growth in full respect of both man and the environment. The photos were taken by the world-famous photographer Sebastiao Salgado. In 2001 Acea took over Rome’s electricity distribution network from Enel. In 2001 Acea, at the head of a joint-venture, was awarded the contract for managing the integrated water service for Ato 3 Sarnese-Vesuviano in Campania as well as Ato 2 (Pisa) and Ato 6 (Grosseto-Siena) in Tuscany. In 2002 the Company won the contract for Ato 3 (Florence) as well as the contract for Ato 5 (South Lazio - Frosinone). In July of the same year the Municipal Authority of Rome entrusted the management of the entire city’s sewerage system to Acea. In October 2002, the mayors of 111 Lazio municipalities also entrusted the management of the Ato 2 Central Lazio integrated water service to Acea (the Ato area included also Rome as well as these 111 municipalities).
Acea consolidates its leadership in Italy.
Towards a more digital company
The Work Force Management (WFM) system - a digital computer platform allowing real-time coordination and monitoring of all Acea Group’s businesses - was introduced. The new website acea.it was set up, conceived to enhance the quality and efficiency of interactions with water, electricity and gas service customers, thanks to the creation of the reserved area “MyAcea” for the management of utilities online, without having to visit the branches.
The new Business Plan
In the 2018 – 2022 Business Plan, Acea identifies the foundations and strategic objectives on which to base its growth path. A strong impetus is given to infrastructural investments, as regards both the water and the electricity sector. Resilient technology and innovation, with special attention to sustainable development, for the environment and for the people. The restyling of the logo launches Acea into the digital world. In 2017 one of the most serious water crises is managed. The company carried out extraordinary maintenance interventions on the water network and promoted a sustainability culture with a view to virtuous collaboration with customers, also through an awareness campaign to emphasise the importance of responsible management of resources. The enormous effort carried out ensured continuity of the service for citizens.