Acea Ato 5 is committed to carrying out interventions and projects for a total value of over 86 million euro.
The works are being funded by the tariff, with specific restrictions and limits.
Investments in the water network, sewerage system and plants. Acea Ato 5 is committed every day to carrying out the plan of interventions scheduled every four years by the Conference of Mayors of the “Southern Lazio - Frosinone” Ato which is updated every two years. The latest plan - due to expire on 31 December - envisages the completion of works and projects worth over 86.6 million euro.
These interventions are funded by the water bill. Indeed, one of the components of the water tariff is determined by none other than the value of the investments that the service Operator is called upon to make to improve and streamline the aqueduct and water purification networks and plants.
This component of the tariff is calculated based on the data on file for the previous two years so that - for example - the bills issued based on the tariffs in force in 2019 cover the investments effectively sustained for the completion of the works in 2017. That is, this component is only calculated based on the data of the effective consumptions, because clearly the completion or extension of many works - for example the purification plants that serve medium to large-sized centers - requires planning times, the issuance of authorizations and contracting processes for the actual construction works that can take several years.
This is why the tariff method applied by the Authority that regulates the sector (Arera) envisages an update every 2 years which enables the effective values of the investments made to be used to calculate the applicable tariffs from year to year.
To sum up, the costs of a work are not factored into the bill until it is completed and only figure up to the limits of expenditure for the progress of the works effectively paid for by the operator from year to year.
Due to the choice of different priorities, the urgent need to first complete other infrastructures or requirements to adapt to the technical quality parameters, during the two-yearly update, some of the works scheduled for a certain year may be pushed back to the subsequent year, or brought forward, but the system for covering the investments, as explained, prevents the economic burden of the work from being passed twice or more to the bill.
The tariff method is also designed to ensure that the tariff remains sustainable: it does not allow the costs of the service to be transferred to the users in an uncontrolled way. This is why there is an annual limit on the increase, which cannot be exceeded. In the Ato 5 of Frosinone, with the current tariff method in force, the water tariff cannot increase by more than 8% per year.
This limit, it should be noted, is not the same for all the Atos, but various on different levels based on the specific “regulatory scheme” chosen, depending on the streamlining and investments required by the Ato. For this reason, comparing the tariffs of two Atos provides a distorted vision unless we take into consideration the infrastructural situation and specific requirements of the two areas.
For all of the above reasons, the system for financing works and infrastructures via the water tariff is not sufficient to provide accurate responses to the requirements of the territories and of effective water management. In 2017, the acknowledgment of this fact led the Government and Parliament to launch the National Plan of interventions in the water sector to tackle the urgent issues and requirements reported by many areas, without increasing the consumer’s bills. The priorities identified in the first implementation of the National Plan also include four interventions related to the Ato of Frosinone.