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Acea Ato 5 reports

Arera has increased the ISEE threshold below which families are entitled to the water bonus to €8,265.
Applications must be presented to the local Council and entitle to 18.25 free cubic meters of water per person.

The number of families in economic difficulty entitled to the social water bonus grows. Arera, the water service Supervisory Authority, has increased the threshold to apply for the bonus. The new regulation will be valid from January 1, 2020.

With decision No. 499/2019/R/COM, the Authority established that families with an indicator of their economic situation (ISEE) below €8,265 (previously €8,107.50) are entitled to apply for the Bonus. The ISEE maximum limit to apply for the Bonus for families with at least 4 children remains set at €20,000.

The social Water Bonus for the provision of water for domestic purposes is a benefit designed for families in economic difficulty that aims to reduce costs pertaining to the use of aqueduct services.

The measure was introduced by law 221/2015 and implemented by decree of the President of the Council of Ministers, of 13 October 2016, and subsequent provisions from the Regulatory Authority for Energy Networks and Environment, who updates the ISEE threshold every three years.

The measure entails the free supply of a minimum amount of water per person per year; the equivalent of 50 liters per day (18.25 m3 of water per year), considered the minimum level required for essential human needs.

For example, the Bonus guarantees a family of four – with an ISEE up to €8,265 – 73 free cubic meters of water per year (just for the aqueduct service).

Direct and indirect users of the aqueduct service who find themselves in economic difficulties are entitled to the bonus based on the parameters described above.

“Direct users” refers to final users to whom the residential domestic water supply is registered; “indirect users” refers to one of the family members who, in the home residence, uses the aqueduct supply service registered in the name of a condominium.

It is important to remember that in order to claim the bonus, customers may apply, with a self certification, only to their local Council or any other agency indicated by the Council (e.g. CAF, Mountain Community etc.).

The forms to apply are available on Arera’s website (www.arera.it), on www.sgate.anci.it, on the provider's website and on the regional body’s website (www.ato5fr.it).

Customers may apply for the water bonus as well as the electricity and gas bonus. The bonus is applicable for a period of 12 months. At the end of this period, customers who still meet the bonus requirements may renew their application.

The Bonus is funded by a compensation system set by Arera and accounted for in the water bill.

Finally, at the moment Parliament is examining a number of amendments to the so-called Fiscal Decree which introduces important changes regarding the Bonus: starting on January 1, the extension of the water bonus to water treatment and sewage services and, starting from January 2021, the automatic application of the bonus, so entitled customers will no longer have to apply every year.

The provisions currently being examined by the Senate – who will have to approve them by Christmas – have already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies.