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>.