Over 300 of the 400 unregistered users have presented connection requests. If well-informed, citizens are willing to regularize their position and a moratorium has now also been established
Clarity, transparency, mutual respect and a focus on the rights of the community: when the relationships between the water system users, the Provider and the institutions involved turn on to a pathway guided by decency and the will to listen, this soon leads to results sure to benefit everyone affected.
The case of the San Bartolomeo district in Anagni is the umpteenth example of this: here, 319 out of the approximate 400 abusive water users living in the populous urban area have submitted connection requests, a sign showing that when citizens have clear and correct information, and are not exploited and misinformed, they choose the legal pathway.
In San Bartolomeo, as mentioned, about 400 customers had been receiving drinkable water, and using the sewerage and purification services without paying anything for many years. Instead, the costs of this - estimated at approximately 2.2 million euro for the supply of water alone - had ended up increasing the bills of all the other users.
A situation remedied thanks to the collaboration and dialog between Acea Ato 5, the Municipality of Anagni, the technical-operational Office, the consumer protection body (Otuc) and the local institutions. A constructive meeting that enabled the opening of a time window (which ended on November 15th) during which those who wished to regularize their position and were therefore willing to sign a supply contract with Acea Ato 5, were offered the opportunity to have their arrears written off. This incentive was offered in the interests of all customers, in the awareness that the regularization of these positions would reduce everyone’s water tariffs and therefore their bills.
Thanks to support from Otuc and the Municipality, which provided a number of premises, the residents were given all the correct information they needed about their situation, the provisions set forth by the industry regulations and the benefits associated with regularization.
The pathway undertaken in the case of San Bartolomeo was successful. Far from promoting unprofitable objections, misinforming the residents, entering into ideological disputes and making incorrect claims, instead it took quite a different approach. Those involved chose to collaborate and play on the same team as their fellow residents, in an important match that involved listening to the local requirements, respecting roles and adopting an approach based on the willingness to collaborate and on correct information and communication. The users understood and appreciated this attitude with the majority choosing to regularize their positions.
Acea Ato 5 is convinced that this is the way forward in order to overcome all the problems still experienced in other areas of the province and, with this in mind, last November 19th, it joined the Technical and Operational Office and the Consumer Protection Body, in the presence of the regional Guarantor of the water service, in establishing a moratorium for abusive users, designed precisely to encourage the emergence and regularization of ongoing supplies that have never before been registered.
The Provider estimates that the volume of water illegally subtracted from the network every year totals approximately 15 million cubic meters. If this quantity were to be regularly invoiced, all water bills would be 30% lower. And this is precisely the ambitious goal being pursued by the initiative.
Acea Ato 5 is therefore convinced that by providing residents with clear, correct information, they will surely respond positively and that in the next few years it will already be possible to witness a rosy future for the Ciociaria area based on sustainability, a reduction in the tariffs and the making of the investments needed to improve the quality of the services. In a nutshell: better quality at a lower cost.