The reading can be transmitted via sms, email, the Acea website or the My Acea app.
No more bills with estimates, adjustments and hidden water losses. Consumption under control.
Periodically communicating water consumption by users self-reading their meters is highly useful if they want to avoid their bills being based on estimates and later adjustments.
Most of the problems that occur with these kinds of bills are linked to such factors, but they can easily be avoided so that users only pay for exactly how much they have consumed.
Acea Ato 5 is required to make at least two reading attempts in the 12 months, each at least 150 days apart from the other (if the annual consumption exceeds 3,000 cubic meters, reading attempts rise to three). However, for various reasons our personnel cannot always read the meter, especially when it is not accessible and the user is not present to assist them.
In these cases it is useful, especially for you, if you cooperate with the Operator by self-reading the meter yourself and transmitting the data through one of the many available channels.
The self-reading can be sent to Acea Ato 5 using: the toll-free number 800.639.251, via the my.acea.it website (registering in the reserved area), via the MyAcea app (for Android and iOS), via the email firstname.lastname@example.org, via SMS to 3188.8.131.523 (indicating the user code, the customer code and the numbers read on the meter followed by #) or by going to the sales offices in Frosinone or Cassino.
Preferably, the communication of water consumption should be carried out close to the periods shown on the first page of each bill, when the passage of the Acea reader is envisaged.
The advantages in communicating the self-reading periodically, are considerable: it avoids bills based on estimates, as mentioned, and also avoids the relative adjustments which - if the actual consumption is only registered a long time afterwards - may lead to a request for substantial sums.
Furthermore, periodically checking consumption and communicating it to the Operator helps early identification of the presence of any hidden water loss on the customer's private network (which register on the meter without you becoming aware of the fault).
On top of this, utilities for which there are no Operator readings or sending of self-readings, but only estimated consumption, cannot make use of the prescription (biennial from next year) of any sums due but unpaid.
In terms of meter accessibility and consumption reading, it is worth mentioning, as we have done in the past, that current water service regulations state that: "The meter must be installed so that it can function properly and be easily accessed for reading and maintenance." In other words, it is forbidden to lock the meter with a padlock or with any other system designed to prevent personnel appointed by Acea Ato 5 from carrying out consumption reading or any other activity on the meter. In such cases, actually, the user risks having to answer to the crime of private violence.
Important: if you have not received your bill, you can request a copy by sending an email to email@example.com, indicating your user code. You will immediately receive a duplicate e-mail, and so avoid travelling to queue up at public counters.
Minor everyday precautions which help in lowering water consumption bills.
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth: 2,500 liters per year saved.
Ten surprisingly useful rules to save drinking water and reduce your bills. Summer is undeniably the period when water consumption tends to increase: adopting the following good practices will be a excellent way to reduce wasted water.
Call 800.639251 and check that your address is registered correctly, and also request a duplicate of the missing bill
For the month of August, Acea Ato 5 has suspended charging costs for sending reminders to all users with no more than two unpaid bills.
Recently, Acea Ato 5 has received various reports from municipal administrations, consumer associations and individual customers regarding the absent or late delivery of water consumption bills.
The company, regretting any disruption cased to users, declares that it has already taken all the initiatives in its power towards the postal service provider, in order to resolve the critical situations this has caused. In many cases, according to the postal delivery service, the problem is created by the absence, at the home address, of the customer's name or mailbox.
The Company then launched a series of initiatives to assist users, as much as possible, in order to limit the confusion generated thereby. For this reason – for all customers who have already provided their e-mail address – an e-mail is sent, with copies of any bills that have not been delivered... obviously something that can only be requested if the paper bill has effectively not arrived at the address indicated.
You can request a copy of recent bills from firstname.lastname@example.org, a specially activated email address.
Acea Ato 5 reminds users to facilitate the delivery of correspondence and avoid the repetition of unpleasant situations, and to verify the correctness and completeness of the address written on the bill: any changes needed (name, address and street number) should be communicated to the toll-free number 800.639251. This number is active from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, and on Saturday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. At the same number, you can also provide your e-mail address and request a copy of bills not received.
In any case, Acea Ato 5 reminds its users that – as an alternative to going to its sales offices in Frosinone and Cassino, or to calling the commercial toll-free number – it is possible at any time to consult their position, check payments and view or download invoices, by registering on the web portal www.myacea.it (accessible also via the 'MyAcea' app for iOS and Android smartphones). MyAcea also offers a 'Web Bill' (or ‘Bolletta Web’) service: here the bill is digital and is sent the same day it is issued, at no additional cost, to the email address indicated by the user, who can view and download it from any device (computer, tablet or smartphone). This service, in addition to avoiding any inconvenience in delivery, allows you to actively contribute to protecting the environment by limiting paper consumption.
Furthermore, for any issue relating to your contractual relationship, you can always send a specific request via the email address email@example.com.
Finally, to avoid any increase or prejudice to users – and also considering that the holiday period may contribute to the delay in bill delivery – Acea Ato 5 has suspended charges for any payment reminders for the month of August, and interest charges to all users who have no more than two unpaid bills to be paid. And in cases of non-delivery, or delivery beyond the date of expiry, of bills concerning other periods – subject to formal user notification and request – the company will deduct both the sums claimed as default interest and the sums related to the posting of reminders.
Acea Ato 5 reminds you that you can submit your customer reading by calling the toll-free number 800 639 251, visiting the website myacea.it (once registered in the customer area), using the MyAcea app, writing to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a text to 339 99 42 943
Customer readings: put a stop to adjusted balances and help keep your bills under control
Every year, as required by law, Acea Ato 5 makes from two to three attempts to take a reading of its customers’ consumptions. However, these attempts are not always successful, mostly because the meters are not accessible and the user is absent, or fails to let the meter reader in. In these cases, as established by the regulation imposed by the industry Authority (Arera), customers are invoiced based on an estimate of their consumptions.
The matter is regulated by the Integrated Act on the metering of the Integrated water service (Timsii), a resolution passed by Arera in 2016 which requires the so-called “average annual consumption” of each user to be calculated by July 31st of each year.
This value is obtained by dividing the volumes supplied (taken from two readings performed at least 300 days apart) divided by the exact number of days between them and multiplied by the number of days in a year (365). The result is then adjusted by applying the tendential rate of variation of the annual consumption in the last 3 years, observed until the previous year in the Ato (this parameter is set at 1 - and is therefore irrelevant - if the Operator does not have a valid historical series).
The annual average consumption, calculated in this way, is used as a reference value for the next year and, if there are no real readings, (performed by the operator with a meter reading or by the user with a customer reading) it consists of the maximum chargeable estimated consumption volume.
The estimated consumption (which is therefore used when there are no readings available with which to calculate the real consumption) is calculated based on the last annual average consumption divided by the 365 days of the year and multiplied by the period in days for which the estimate is applied.
Now, clearly, the older and more dated the real readings or customer readings on which the estimate is based are, the more likely it is that the estimated values will not correspond with the real consumptions. Often, a user may find his or her bills excessive precisely due to this calculation mechanism imposed by the regulations governing this practice.
For example, think of the case of a user who had consumed higher amounts of water in the past (perhaps because their family was larger), and has never submitted a customer reading or had their meter read by a technician. In this case, the invoices received will continue to consist of estimates based on the higher volumes consumed in the past rather than the true, lower, volumes consumed today.
This is why it is important for customer to have their meters read regularly or, alternatively to provide a customer reading: the date on which the next invoice will be issued is printed on every bill and customers should bear this in mind when deciding when to submit their customer readings.
In this way we can avoid receiving water bills based on estimates containing the unexpected adjusted balances generated when the meter is effectively read, with a view to realigning the invoiced consumptions with the real ones (perhaps months or even years later).
Additionally, customers for whom no real readings exist, and who have not submitted a customer reading, cannot benefit from the prescription period (two years from 2020) for the amounts owed.
The response to the Parliamentary Question on the tax injunctions issued by Acea Ato 5 to debtors
The Italian Ministry of Finance has reconfirmed that the Padoan decree conforms with the law
<There are no grounds that might determine the implementation of a provision designed to revoke the Padoan decree, since all the legal requisites envisaged for its issuance exist>. This is the response delivered by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to the Parliamentary Question presented last September regarding the enforced recovery of the credits owed to Acea Ato 5 by defaulting users of the integrated water service via the establishment of a credit register.
The Ministry of Finance replied to the comments made by the askers and reconstructed the legal framework that regulates the subject, reiterating that the enforced recovery of credits entrusted to licensees (now debt recovery agents) was also extended in 2006 - expressly - to water charges. <Therefore, it is clear - the response reads - that the legislator has paid particular attention to the recovery of water charges using a credit register>.
The response contains a reminder that the Ministry of Economy and Finance can authorize the enforced recovery via credit register of specific types of credits of publicly owned joint stock companies, such as Acea Ato 5, subject to the credits in question being deemed as “of public importance”. As is known, this authorization was issued to Acea Ato 5 in February 2016 by way of the decree of the MP Padoan. However, in order to proceed in registering a credit, a legally compliant injunction must first be issued (the so-called tax injunction).
The Ministry of Finance also observes that, in the case of water charges, its evaluation of whether the credit holds “public importance” appears redundant, since the above-mentioned legislator - as mentioned - has already equated this to the recovery of the revenue of the territorial authorities.
The profiles related to the public importance of the credits due to Acea Ato 5 are also deemed acceptable by the Ministry and many aspects of these have already been highlighted by the relevant law: indeed said importance “can refer to the interest of the collectivity which, for example, uses the service, and therefore in relation to the increased efficiency of the same. But it can also refer to the company’s interest in immediately recovering its revenues”. Additionally - the Ministry of Finance states in brief, since Acea Ato 5 is a holding company, it must monitor the non-payments of its defaulting users as these risk compromising the company’s economic-financial equilibrium and therefore ultimately damaging the sustainability and quality of the managed water resources.
Finally, the askers also referred to the observations expressed by the Constitutional Court in judgment 335/2008, considering that the Judge of the laws had in some way excluded or at least restricted the possibility of using the register as a tool for recovering credits due from parties who were not subjectively classed as public organizations and had excluded the use of the same recovery tool for amounts due from private parties. Instead, the Ministry found that the legislator had in any case envisaged the possibility of registering the financial penalties applied, highlighting the need to also use the register for revenues from private parties, such as the amounts due for water charges, in such cases subjecting these, as mentioned above, to a guarantee in the form of the prior notification of an enforcement order to the defaulting user.
The Ministry of Finance concludes <Based on the reference legislative and legal framework in force, there are no grounds that might determine the implementation of a provision designed to revoke the above-mentioned decree, since all the legal requisites envisaged for its issuance exist>.
The provision issued by Arera will be applied from next January 2020
The same, conclusive rules will be introduced throughout Italy for cases of non-payment
Last July 16th, the Authority that monitors the water service (Arera) approved the late and non-payment regulation document (REMSI) toll be applicable from January 1st 2020. This set of regulations will implement the principles contained in the Italian Prime Ministerial Decree of 29 August 2016 with reference, indeed, to reducing late and non-payments due for the water service.
Therefore, from January 1st 2020, the same set of conclusive rules will be introduced throughout Italy in case of non-payments by users of the water sector. These regulations will define the standard times and procedures for sending a notice of default, establishing payment plans for amounts owed, suspending supplies and terminating contracts, protecting vulnerable users in a substantiated condition of economic and social hardship and public users that cannot be disconnected by law (such as hospitals and schools).
Late and non-payments by resident domestic users (not classed as vulnerable)
In detail, in case of late and/or non-payment on the part of resident domestic users (not classed as vulnerable), the supply can only be suspended following the non-payment of invoices for amounts higher than the annual payment due for the reduced tariff. Or, when technically feasible, only following the restriction of the flow of water, where only the minimum vital quantity (50 liters per inhabitant per day) is assured.
For the same user category, the supply can only be disconnected and the contract terminated by the operator should, following the restriction/suspension of the same and the user’s persistent failure to pay, the meter is tampered with, or should the user have failed to pay the relative amounts for the recovery of previous late/missed payments.
Instead, in the case of condominium users, the operator cannot restrict/suspend/disconnect the water supply if a single payment of at least half of the due amount has been made before the expiry of the terms envisaged in the notice of default. Instead, the operator can proceed in limiting/suspending disconnecting the supply if the condominium user fails to pay the balance within the subsequent 6-month period.
Should the Supervisory Authority ascertain the technical feasibility of the restriction or selective disconnection procedures related to the condominium accounts for which the operator had instead stated that intervention was impossible, the former must apply - bearing in mind the cause and the related responsibilities - specific penalties and notify the Authority accordingly, for the subsequent calculations of competence.
The operators must guarantee, when envisaged, the provision of a 12-month payment plan for amounts subject to a notice of default. They must provide clear information to the user regarding the times and procedures needed to obtain this. The operator must then send the notice of default at least 25 calendar days following the expiry of the invoice. But not before having sent a sanction-free payment reminder, and attaching a postal slip with which the defaulting user can pay the due amount. Duty to reconnect supplies that have been restricted, suspended or disconnected due to late or non-payment within two weekdays from the end customer providing proof of payment of the balance.
Compensation of amounts from 10 to 30 euro shall be payable in case of full or partial non-compliance with these procedures.
It is the technical arm of the Ato Authority that supervises the management of the water service.
The technical and operational office (Too) of the Ato Authority is the first external ‘supervisory function’ charged with guaranteeing and monitoring the management of the integrated water service. In fact it is the technical arm of the governing body of the local area which here in our territory is Ato 5 - southern Lazio, Frosinone, governed by the mayors of the participating municipalities.
The Too is established pursuant to the regional law issued in 1996 which identifies the Atos of the Lazio region and regulates their operation, for this purpose providing: <For the performance of the operational functions linked to the duties of coordination (...) and for the activities of support, monitoring and surveillance, a dedicated technical-operational office is established at the authority responsible for coordinating the service, which will serve all the local authorities that belong to the same geographical area>.
Instead, the composition and the functions of the office and the ways in which it is organized and funded are decided by the “Cooperation Convention” (of which the law provides a sample draft), then signed by all the municipalities falling under the scope of the Ato, so establishing the Ato Authority.
In brief, pursuant to the convention, approved by all the mayors in October 1996, the Too shall: provide information, aid and technical support to all the participating local authorities; carry out tasks designed to ensure the general control over the quality of the water service; exercise activities of surveillance regarding the operator’s compliance with the convention; propose any measures and initiatives to the operator, promote the implementation of the management models, process the data and results of the tele-monitoring network with the purpose of evaluating the performance of management; carry out economic and management checks on the operator’s activity, verifying that the programs are implemented.
Then, it must be said that with the amendment of the national law on the water service and the transferral of the regulatory competences of the same to an Authority such as the one currently in charge, ARERA (Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment), the competences and role of the Too in the various administrative processes linked to the management of the water service have increased and partially changed (think, for example, of how the method used to set the tariffs has evolved. These must now be approved by the Authority and no longer by the Ato Authority, which limits itself to preparing it).
The technical and operational office of Ato Authority 5 is based in the Province of Frosinone and is managed by an accountable manager, aided by a planning and control manager. In the initial phase, the staff of the Too was temporarily appointed by the unit itself, using the economic resources available and only recently the Ato has defined a true department organization chart. The costs sustained to ensure the smooth operation of the Too are fully covered by a specific cost item, set aside for this very purpose, which composes the concession fees of the integrated water service, paid by the operator to Ato Authority 5. Initially this amount had a fixed value, based on the terms established during the tender process; more recently, with the evolution of the method used to set the tariffs, this item is used for the purpose of calculating the tariff and is proportionate to the number of customers.
The checking and monitoring activity assigned to the Too with regard to the integrated water service - as well as the competences envisaged by the directives issued by the Authority over time - is partly also regulated by the management convention in the points in which the Too is invested with “the fullest powers to carry out (...) all checks necessary in order to ensure that the service is being provided in line with the established quality, methods and criteria> and where it commits the operator to <doing everything in its power> to favor the <monitoring activity>.
The service will be available on the MyAcea app from September onwards.
With ‘Web Bill’ say goodbye to delays:your invoice arrives immediately by email.
The possibility of directly reporting the presence of a leak in the meter of your supply, on the road or in another public area to Acea Ato 5 with a simple click on your mobile. The service will be active from September onwards, but is already one of the options available in the MyAcea app, the simple, user-friendly interface with which all users can now already personally manage their supply contract for the integrated water service.The application has recently been implemented and those who have downloaded the new version (1.4.2) have already had the opportunity to check out the brand new function in the section “Breakdowns and disservices”: the possibility of reporting a problem in the water network directly to the water operator.For example, in case of a leak in a public area, with the app users can soon report the disservice to Acea Ato 5 via smartphone, attaching a photo of the problem.
This will enable the technicians to intervene immediately, plan the repair and all other actions required to solve the problem.The service will complement the toll-free number 800191332 already active for receiving breakdown reports (active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - calls are free from landlines and mobiles). And in fact it is important to stress that when these channels are used, the teams of Acea Ato 5 intervene more rapidly as the report of the disservice is immediately entered in the intervention management system. The MyAcea app is available in the Android and iOS app stores. Once registered, users can check the consumptions of their utilities, send the correct meter reading, report breakdowns, pay bills, request payment plans, submit requests or complaints, request corrections to bills, request and receive support also via chat, set up direct debits, send receipts of payment, request quotes and new supplies, request meter checks and much more.The 'web bill’ option is particularly useful, as the consumptions are invoiced and the invoice is sent directly to the indicated email address, without delay.
Additional benefits of online billing for customers include no late or non-delivered bills, faster delivery since there is no wait for postal delivery, convenience because you can view and download bills directly on your computer, smartphone or tablet, ecological because it helps to protect the environment by reducing paper usage and carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, it’s also completely free of charge, which is no bad thing. The MyAcea app is also available online and it enabling users from all the companies in the Acea Group to manage all aspects of their relationships with the Operator directly from home, via their computer, tablet or smartphone.
Mayors cannot stop utility operators cutting off customers in arrears
Municipal councils are extraneous to contracts between Acea Ato 5 and water customers
Regional administrative court judges have issued several judgments in recent years that make it clear that mayors are not entitled to use extraordinary emergency orders to prevent integrated water service operators from disconnecting users in arrears or to force them to reconnect users who have been cut off due to non-payment of bills. By the same token, they cannot use these orders to generically prohibit utility operators - without time limits - from disconnecting households that are in arrears.
All the orders reviewed by the administrative courts, involving several municipal councils within the territory of Frosinone and covered by Acea Ato 5, resulted in the issue of judgments - in simplified form in almost every case, due to the manifest unlawfulness of the measure - that overturned the mayoral order and awarded costs against the municipal council.
“The Mayor,” explained the regional administrative court in every case, “cannot use extraordinary emergency orders to prohibit utility operators from disconnecting individual users who are in arrears, as this would constitute a misuse of power, whereby the municipal council - which is extraneous to the contract between the operator and the user - would deny the operator recourse to the legal remedy of cutting off the water supply to users who are in arrears (...) regardless of whether non-payment was attributable to social factors.”
With regard to the public health hazard argument, on which these orders are often based, the regional administrative court explained: “a) it has not been demonstrated in the case in point that any public health hazard currently exists (...); b) in effect, the order amounts to an impairment of the contract between the integrated water service operator and individual users, because it denies the former - on a general basis and without time limits - recourse to the main instrument at its disposal for responding to non-payment by the latter.”
In recent weeks, lastly, the Lazio regional administrative court also issued rulings on two orders used by mayors to require operators to provide the municipal council with the details of users in arrears before disconnecting them, so as to enable the council to determine whether the situations of these users fell within the scope of cases in which disconnection is not permitted, on the grounds of serious socio-economic hardship, as established in the prime ministerial decree of 29 August 2016.
Although the judgments state that the case was dropped (because the mayors recognized that the measures were potentially unlawful and therefore chose to withdraw them at their own initiative before being required to do so by the courts), the judge nonetheless went into the merits of the case - to the extent that he awarded costs against the municipal councils as the virtually unsuccessful parties - and explained in both cases that: “the measure (...) appears to be manifestly unlawful because it breaches articles 50 and 54 of legislative decree No. 267 of 2000 and the general principles governing the adoption of extraordinary emergency orders on the grounds that: a) it was adopted on the basis of a merely hypothetical future hazard; b) it failed to set out any reasons precluding recourse to ordinary instruments; c) it issued a generic and generalized order to reconnect water supplies to households in arrears without any time limit.”
The regional administrative court judgments cited here are published on the administrative justice website (giustizia-amministrativa), where they are freely available for consultation.
With “online billing” you avoid any delivery problems and have instant access to information and data.
Monitor your usage, provide a meter reading, report a fault, view and pay your bill, request payment by installments, or submit an application or complaint. MyAcea is the restricted area of the Acea website for customers of all the Group’s companies, and therefore Acea Ato 5 clients. With MyAcea you can manage all aspects of your account with your water service provider directly from home, via computer, tablet or smartphone.
To use this service, simply register on the www.gruppo.acea.it or www.aceaato5.it websites. Just click on the MyAcea logo and follow the instructions. The service is also available on your tablet or mobile phone by downloading the “MyAcea” app, available for both Apple and Android devices.
Once you have linked your user details, via the app or website, you can manage contracts, view and check bills, pay bills online, monitor meter readings and usage, provide meter readings, report faults, request and receive support via chat, set up direct debits, obtain payment receipts, request payment by installments, submit claims, and request amendments to bills, a quotation, new supply, or meter verification and much more.
It is certainly worth taking the time to register separately for “online billing”, which can be activated on the MyAcea platform. The service has many advantages over traditional paper billing, giving you, the customer, immediate access and convenience. As soon as the bill is issued, it is emailed directly to you. Additional benefits of online billing for customers include no late or non-delivered bills, faster delivery since there is no wait for postal delivery, convenience because you can view and download bills directly on your computer, smartphone or tablet, ecological because it helps to protect the environment by reducing paper usage and carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, it’s also completely free of charge, which is no bad thing.
Water supply service/Decree 93/2017 provides for new regulations for verification and upgrading of meters by 2020
Acea Ato 5 has launched a water meter replacement program in order to comply with provisions set out in Ministerial Decree No. 93 of 21 April 2017 which provides for the upgrading of water meters by 2020.
The Decree sets out a series of regulations for the assessment and verification of legal measuring instruments (i.e. water meters) together with reforms, abolishing earlier provisions in respect of the regulatory system, and providing for specific legal obligations and procedures.
A meter is considered a measuring instrument and must therefore be accurate and reliable. In fact the usage recorded by the meter is invoiced to customers and appears on their bills. Therefore a meter that works correctly improves distribution and makes customer relations fairer and more transparent.
Many of the meters in operation are now old, and in many cases have exceeded their metrological lifespan. They were manufactured in line with regulations which are now obsolete and superseded by relevant European directives and subsequent national legislation.
New-generation meters, manufactured in line with the most recent, stringent provisions, offer the dual guarantee of more precise, reliable measurement and, in addition, can be read by the customer, thus offering more control over the volume of water supplied.
Replacement is completely free of charge for the customer and does not incur any charge on your bill. The work is carried out in the necessary technical time, with no particular inconvenience nor prolonged interruption to service.
It should be noted that the Company has scheduled a ten-year program to replace all meters. For example, during the two-year period 2019-2020, we plan to replace as many as 40,000 older meters.
It is not necessary for users to be present during replacement, except when the meter is located on private property. In this case, it is necessary to allow workers to gain access to the property for the sole purpose of replacing the meter.
Local Authorities will be notified as soon as possible, in order to provide appropriate written notification to residents, who will also be contacted by Acea Ato 5.
Fixed fee, variable fee, adjustable charges and VAT. These are the items you read when you scroll down the amounts shown in the water bill, and sometimes they can leave the consumer perplexed.You need to know that the integrated water service (aqueduct, sewage and purifier) payment consists of several items, divided into fixed and variable fees. This is what the “Integrated text for corresponding water service”, abbreviated “Tisci”, amounts to, as approved by the Authority that oversees the water sector (Arera), and what the environment authorities and operators have to apply.When the introduction of fixed quotas was introduced in 2014, the so-called “minimum applied consumption” in Frosinone’s Ato 5 was exceeded; up to then it had involved each user paying for 108 m3water per year, irrespective of whether that amount was consumed. Both in the case of domestic users and for uses other than domestic, the payment of a variable fee and a fixed fee is therefore envisaged both for the aqueduct service and for the sewage and purification services (these latter services are paid only if actually used): the variable fee includes a rate to be applied to the bill based on the cubic meters of water consumed, while the fixed rate involves an annual fee to be applied to the bill based on the number of days the consumption period billed refers to.The rates that apply are established by the optimal environmental authority and, depending on the method dictated by Arera, prepared by the mayoral assembly.If there are only two rates for sewage and purification (one for the fixed and another for the variable part) that apply to all consumers, things change when the aqueduct is involved, because the rate to apply is instead divided into consumption bands, according to a disincentive system that provides increasingly higher costs for those who consume more water resources (according to the principle "the more you pollute the more you pay"): there is a basic tariff and subsequent consumption bands that have to be progressive, with the limit that the highest bracket cannot be more than six times the reduced rate. In fact, a preferential rate is necessarily applied for residential domestic use (the reduction can have a value between 20 and 50% of the basic rate), which includes the consumption of 50 liters per day (established as the minimum vital quantity) for each member of the family nucleus (the so-called “per capita” rate, currently applied in a standard way - that is, referring to a typical three-member family), will be applied in full in 2021).On the other hand, the “adjustable charges” items are increases in the corresponding integrated water service (between 0.004 and 0.009 Euros/m3) fixed by Arera and periodically updated to sustain: costs relating to rate reductions for integrated water service and payment rates for people affected by seismic events (code UI1); upgrading the aqueduct, sewage and purification technical services (code UI2), and the water bonus (code UI3). The fees for the UI1-2-3 components have to be applied for the volumes of water, sewer and purification (always if due) for UI1 and UI2, while for UI3, the fee must be paid only on the volumes of water.Finally, there is VAT, with 10% applied to the fees, calculated as stated above, and which the user must pay.
How much does water cost? It’s a question we all ask ourselves when we receive our water bill. However, the question only makes sense if we explain a few things: we don’t pay for water as such, we pay for the cost of the activities necessary to collect the water from its sources, make it drinkable, bring it to our homes, collect it after it has been used and then depurate it.
Therefore, the right question is: <How much does it cost to ensure water reaches our homes and is later depurated without damaging the environment?>. This is why we talk about amounts owed for the services rendered.
It is worth reiterating that the water supply system (that takes water to our homes) is just one aspect of the service (however it is the one users focus on), while water depuration (everything that happens after the water leaves our homes) plays a fundamental role in protecting our invaluable water resources.
So, how much does a cubic meter of water cost? The amount owed for a cubic meter of water is calculated based on the work necessary to make those 1000 liters came out of the tap.
The amount will be higher in the areas that still require more interventions, investments and structures to ensure the service.
Due to the peculiarities of the water supply service (a single supplier in the absence of competition), it is regulated by an independent authority (ARERA) that operates on a national level and sets the “rules” to determine water tariffs, which are not set by the supplier but by auditors in an optimal territorial area, based on a “tariff system” (a combination of rules and formulas) issued by ARERA.
In simple terms, we can say that until 2011, the applicable tariff system (known as “normalized”) required the amount due for a cubic meter of water (the so called “real average tariff”) to be based on all costs (operational and investments) met by the supplier in relation to the total of cubic meters of water provided to users. The “euros/m3” relation was then corrected using a series of coefficients (that could either favor or penalize the supplier) rating different aspects of the service.
The “normalized” system was replaced by a transitional tariff system implemented in 2012; then in 2013 and 2016 the Regulatory Authority issued two new tariff systems – the second an evolution of the first – that aimed to standardize tariffs across Italy and provide the tools necessary to make the system more efficient in areas requiring more interventions.
Based on the principal that tariffs must cover all costs met by the supplier, the new systems introduce a number of parameters that ensure that the compliance to the obligations and responsibilities assumed by the supplier and the quality of the service provided are reflected in the tariffs.
The assessment of all these parameters is summarized in a tariff multiplier (represented in formulas by the Greek letter “theta”), which year after year is applied to the water tariff applicable in 2012. Currently, for Ato 5 of Frosinone “theta” does not allow for tariff increases above 8%.
The integrated water service (waterworks, sewers and purification systems) is managed locally on the level of “optimal geographical areas” (abbreviated to Ato). Basically, the Ato is a geographical area identified by the Region, sharing a single river basin or sub-river basin and management unit. Additionally, the dimensions of the Ato must meet certain criteria based on physical, technical and population-related parameters defined by the law. By law, all the municipalities that fall under a certain Ato must participate in the sole management of the water service.
Ato number 5 “Southern Lazio” of Frosinone (the one which covers most of our territory) is composed of 86 Municipalities (85 in Ciociaria and one - Campodimele - in the province of Latina).
Each Ato has its own governance body, comprised of the Provinces and Municipalities present therein. The form and operations of said governance body depend on the form of collaboration chosen by the Municipalities when they joined forces to manage the Ato.
Ato number 5 of Frosinone was created in 1996 when all the interested parties signed a cooperation agreement that appointed the Province of Frosinone as the chair of the Authority that governs the area (known as “Ega” or “or Autorità d’ambito”, also abbreviated to “A. Ato”).
There are essentially three “organs” of the governance body: the Chair (an office assigned to the president of the province of Frosinone); the Mayors’ Advisory Board (composed of 7 mayors elected by their colleagues, responsible for aiding and advising the president - the regional capital is automatically a member) and the Mayor’s Conference (composed of all the mayors of the Municipalities in the Ato, also sometimes called “Mayors’ meeting”). The meetings take place at the headquarters of the Provincial Administration. There is also a technical-administrative structure, which is responsible for overseeing and controlling the management of the water service, named the Technical-operational Office (Sto), composed of the technicians and staff of the organizations involved.
The governance body of the Ato decides which “tool” to use for the management of the water service from the formulas approved by the law. In 2001, Ato number 5 of Frosinone opted to assign this task to third parties by way of a tender. In 2003, the thirty-year contract was assigned to the company Acea Ato 5 Spa, the current water operator, and is bound to the Ato Authority by a detailed service agreement which, also through a set of Technical Regulations, dictates the rules for the management of the local waterworks, sewers and purification systems.
The other main tasks of the Ato Authority are to prepare the various plans required to manage the service, such as the intervention plan and the economic-financial plan.
The governance body, composed of the mayors, prepares the tariffs and periodic adjustments. It does this by applying the tariff method established by the National Authority for the sector (now named Arera: Energy, Grid and Environment Regulation Authority). The tariffs prepared by the Ato Authority are applied immediately even if their definitive approval is remitted to the Arera and, in case of amendments by this Authority the difference is managed as an end of period adjustment.
The Water Operator acts as the “plumber” of our networks, maintaining them and performing the works required (investments planned by the Ato Authority) to make the service more effective and efficient. All costs sustained are charged in the bill based on the mechanism by which the tariff applied must ensure the recovery of all the expenses (operating costs and investments).
Water is priceless. Water is a finite, yet essential resource for life, to which all living creatures are entitled.
So what are you paying for in your utility bill? You aren't paying for the water, in the sense of the raw material. What you're paying for is the cost of the services to collect it from the source, make it drinkable, transport it to your home and then send it back to the sewage treatment plants.
So, if we want the precious liquid to come out of the tap in your home at the turn of a knob, we all have to help pay for the cost of the service to guarantee the water reaches you.
What's more: as water is such an important resource, the more we use, the more we'll be asked to pay: this is the principle of "he who pollutes more, pays more' on which Europe bases its environmental and water service management taxes.
Who decides the cost of the service?
It isn't your water service provider who establishes the ' cost' of your water. The tariff to be applied to the various users is established by the Local Water Board Authority (AAto 5 for Frosinone), which consists of all the mayors of the Municipalities within the Ato area, based on the rules set by the Supervisory Authority for the sector (Arera) and on the basis of balance-sheet and management data provided by the service provider (Acea Ato Spa in Ciociaria), controlled by the technical structure of that Local Board (Sto). Arera then checks (and corrects where necessary) that all the assessments have been corrected.
We also have to remember another principle established by the European Union and applied to the water service, i.e. the so-called "full recovery cost", which is the obligation to use the tariff (i.e. the 'price' to apply to the cubic metres consumed) to cover everything spent on service management, including investments.
The Galli Law of 1994 was the first tariff method (the so-called 'standardised') to be applied. Essentially, it envisaged that the average tariff to be applied should be calculated by dividing the annual management costs predicted for the total volume in cubic metres invoiced to users, in order to obtain the cost per cubic metre to offer the residents served. The tariff was then divided according to the type of use and consumption time band.
This method was updated several times and today has 'evolved' with the appearance on the scene of the Regulation Authority, which has tried to align the cost of the service in the various communities throughout Italy according to the specific requirements of each area.
Nowadays, the tariff is always decided by the Local Authority and, therefore, by the mayors. It takes into account the costs for the outlay, the investments made, the quality of the water source and the service provided. It is calculated using complicated, mathematical formulas, which 'mix' the different aspects to be taken into account according to legislation. This is why water doesn't 'cost' the same in different parts of Italy, and why you can't hazard any comparison: in some areas the service has already been working effectively and efficiently for some time, with more economical investments, works and systems, resulting in lower tariffs; in other areas, the service still has to be set up and improved with work to be carried out, systems to be built and investments to be made. As all the 'costs' have to be shown on your utility bill (within insuperable limits), this is why the water tariff in those areas (e.g. Ciociaria) is more expensive.
The bill is statute barred in 5 years; starting from 2020, the deadline will be shortened to 24 months
To apply for statute barring, the consumption meter must be accessible
The bill for water consumptions or balance calculations is statute barred in 5 years (starting from 2020, as established by the 2018 Budget Law, the deadline will be brought forward to two years). The user can therefore apply for statute barring on the amounts requested once 5 years have passed if the manager has not requested payment and has not sent any deeds interrupting these terms. The same applies for bills issued as balance calculations relative to periods exceeding 5 years.
All this, however, only applies if the meter is freely accessible or if the user has himself sent in a reading, using the specific channels made available by the manager. It should, in fact, be recalled that the manager must make at least two attempts at reading per year (three if consumption exceeds 3,000 cubic metres). When the meter is not accessible, therefore, the manager shall bill “on account, subject to balance calculation”; this balance will only be calculated when it is effectively able to record the exact consumption.
To apply for statute barring, therefore, the consumption meter must be accessible to the operator and, if not, the reading must have been notified by the user. This is because if all attempted readings have been unsuccessful and the user has not proved willing to facilitate access to the meter, the manager shall not be held liable for not having ascertained the consumption and requested payment due in a timely manner. The claim for state barring will be granted each time the delay in issuing the bill for the balance calculation is due to failure to take a reading, through the fault of the Company.
The claim for statute barring will instead be rejected if the meter is located within the customer’s property and the latter has prevented the Company from accessing the meter and, therefore, recording effective consumption, or when there are any works in progress that prevent a reading from being taken. Please remember that a self-reading can be sent to Acea ATO 5 by means of: freephone number 800.639.251, this website, registering with the reserved MyAcea area, the MyAcea app, e-mail email@example.com, SMS 3184.108.40.2063 or by visiting the commercial branches of Frosinone or Cassino.
Who is due the 50 litres per inhabitant per day
The benefits envisaged for families and cases when the utility cannot be disconnected
The minimum quantity of water considered as vital and necessary to satisfy essential needs is set as 50 litres per inhabitant per day, for a total of 18.25 cubic metres per year. This is what the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers has ruled on the social water tariff in implementation of the law on the limitation of excessive use of natural resources. In another Decree, the perhaps better-known Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 26 August 2016 on the limitation of late payment in the integrated water service, the Government, again in compliance with the same regulation, has set limits - delegating the complete definition of the rules to ARERA, the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment - so that service users can access the vital minimum quantity, in particular if in conditions of social-financial hardship.
ARERA has not yet launched this regulation. However, the same Authority has, over the years, held a series of consultations with all those involved and recently prepared a guideline announcing the publication of the definitive provision this summer. In any case, it would appear clear that there is a condition of social-financial hardship each time the user has the right to the social water bonus: i.e. when they live in a family unit with an ISEE (indicator of equivalent economic position) that does not exceed 8,107.50 euros or, if having more than 3 dependent children, that does not exceed 20,000 euros. Considering only domestic residential users, the limits set by the Government in any case provide very clear directives on how the minimum quantity should be guaranteed: first and foremost, the rules prohibit the interruption of the water supply to users in a condition of social-financial hardship, who - according to the repeated intentions of ARERA - are those entitled to the water bonus. For these users, the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 26 August 2016 explains: “the vital minimum quantity of 50 litres per inhabitant, per day, shall in any case be guaranteed”.
Outside these cases, all resident domestic users must in any case be guaranteed access “to the vital minimum quantity of water at a special tariff”.
Therefore, to simplify: the 50 litres per inhabitant, per day must always be supplied, whether or not the bill is paid, only to users in a condition of social-financial hardship; all others instead are entitled to 50 litres per day, paid at a special tariff. And, in fact, this same Decree specifies that the disconnection of resident domestic users is possible, outside cases of social-financial hardship, only when “failure to pay the bills exceeds an amount equal to the annual price due in connection with the volume of the special bracket”. In any case, it should be recalled that before suspending supply, the Manager is required to make a series of preventive communications, to ensure formal notice of default and, if the user intends to settle their position, to agree to payment schedules by instalments.
Finally, it should be recalled that during this transitional stage, ARERA itself has envisaged, again for residential domestic users, billing by default as three members (the standard average family), setting 1 January 2022 as the cut-off date to allow managers to acquire data in order to align the billing systems to the actual members of the family units, thereby ensuring the effective per capita tariff.
Benefits and who is entitled
Major savings for families
How to submit the applications to obtain them
Starting July 2018, the “water social bonus” can be requested for the supply of water for domestic residential use. This is a direct benefit for families in a situation of financial hardship and aims to reduce the cost of the aqueduct service. The measure is envisaged by the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 13 October 2016 and subsequently implemented by provisions of ARERA, the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment.
The benefit envisages a free minimum quantity of water per person, per year, of 50 litres per day (18.25 cubic metres of water per year), set as the minimum level necessary to satisfy essential requirements. The bonus will guarantee, for example, that a family of four will not need to pay for 73 cubic metres of water each year. The benefit is due to direct and indirect users of the aqueduct service who are in a condition of social-financial hardship, i.e. who live in family units with an ISEE of no more than 8,107.5 euros or, if with at least 4 dependent children, with an ISEE of no more than 20,000 euros.
The term “direct users” is applied to mean the end user, who is the holder of a residential domestic supply contract; an “indirect user” is instead a member of the family unit making use, in the place of residence, of an aqueduct service supply contracted in the name of a condominium utility.
In order to obtain the bonus, an application must be submitted, in the form of a statutory declaration, to the council of residence or any other entity as may have been designated by the council to this end (CAF, mountain communities, etc.). The forms to request the benefit are available from the ARERA website, from www.sgate.anci.it or by consulting the dedicated page and the area government entity. The water bonus can also be requested together with that envisaged for electricity and gas and is granted for a period of 12 months. At the end of this period, if still meeting the necessary requirements, the user must renew the request.
New regulation approved for the bonus thanks to the agreement reached between Acea Ato 5, the Area Authority and OTUC
An end to maxi bills generated by hidden losses. By agreement with the Area Authority and OTUC, Acea Ato 5 has established a specific procedure - now also incorporated into an Ato regulation - by means of which the user of the water service and ask that excess consumption be recalculated if generated by a loss on the internal water network (i.e. that downstream of the meter and for which responsibility lies with the user), of which he had not been aware.
The loss, even once repaired, must be ascertained by the Manager.
The user concerned shall submit a request through one of the channels made available to this end (e-mail, certified e-mail, commercial branches or ordinary mail), on the specific form available from the dedicated page.
The recalculation of consumption will impact the aqueduct portion, according to the type of user and regularity of reading attempts. Instead, as regards the portion relative to the water/sewage treatment services (if supplied), the user will only pay on the basis of past consumption.
It is important that the user provides the effective reading at the time of the repair, to allow for the correct recalculation of the bill. If it should be revealed that the hidden loss comes under the exclusive liability of the manager, the cost exceeding the past consumption will be paid in full by Acea ATO 5.
As regards the aqueduct portion (whether or not the meter is accessible, whether or not there have been readings or attempted readings or whether it has been self-read), the relief procedure establishes that the user shall: 1) in any case pay past consumption at the normal tariff; 2) also pay for the consumption that exceeds past logs (presumably generated by the loss) at the cost of only the beneficial tariff, halved, for up to 6 months.
Only if the meter is inaccessible and there have been regular attempts to take readings made by Acea Ato 5, which have been unsuccessful and not through the fault of the manager, will the user pay for: 1) past consumption at normal tariff; 2) all consumption exceeding past logs, for the entire period between the last valid reading and the ascertainment of the hidden loss, recalculated at the cost of the special tariff, halved.
The provision, desired by Ato, has been extended through to June and should help those who have been misled by pseudo-committees
Until this coming 30 June, users of the water service who are severely behind in making payments due to having been misled by pseudo citizen committees, can apply for a specific debt settlement procedure activated by Acea ATO 5, on the specific request of the Area Authority. The measure, in fact, which had been set to expire last 31 March, has now been extended to half-way through the year.
The initiative is sparked from a specific report made by the ATO 5 to the water Manager whereby “major affluence of users (...)” was noted, “which, although today in default, express the desire to settle their debt (...), at the same time declaring that the non-payment was, unfortunately, recommended to them by alleged citizen committees of which they are members. As these users had been caught up in good faith and poorly advised, it is considered that they should be helped with the application of extraordinary procedures that do not penalise them further”.
Acea Ato 5, in acting as the diligent party and again by agreement with the Area Authority, has therefore envisaged conditions of additional, favourable benefits for users finding themselves in such a position, extending by around 30%, for each year of age of the debt, the duration of the applicable breakdown of payments into instalments, which, therefore, according to the amount and year of reference, may even reach 22 months. This opportunity has been offered to both residential domestic users and non-residential domestic users or those of mixed use, as in the case of utilities discontinued due to non-payment.
To date, numerous users that had made this mistake, have been able to benefit from the system and settle their debt without incurring the more serious consequences envisaged by the service settlement (such as disconnection of supply and closure of the contract) as well as the forced collection of the outstanding amounts. With the extension through to this coming 30 June, the same opportunity is given to all users who are again asking to settle the debt position brought about by incorrect advice and unrealistic expectations suggested by pseudo citizen committees.