Even during these sensitive times, Acea Ato 5 is continuing its meter reading activities. Accurate meter readings are essential to ensure that bills reflect the amount of water actually consumed.
The two main principles at the basis of the integrated water system tariff structure are “use more, pay more” (whereby tariffs increase as the amount of water used increases) and the principal of “full cost recovery”.
All management costs (including investments) sustained and approved by the Area Provider when setting out the tariff structure, must be recovered proportionately to the amount of water used. Fully recovering costs allows to provide water to every home, carry out the work required to prevent and overcome critical situations, reuse and treat water to protect the environment.
The system set out by the legislator aims at containing the use of a non-renewable resource such as water within necessity limits, using tariffs as an economic lever to responsibilize customers and at the same time make the service economically sustainable.
What happens if meters are not read and actual consumption not recorded? ARERA’s rules require the provider to estimate bills based on the volumes of water consumed in the past. However, when meter readings date back considerably, the estimate risks not reflecting the actual consumption level and driving up the price of the service for all users, including those who regularly provide a meter reading; it also makes it more difficult for customers experiencing economic difficulties to obtain the right financial support they need. Additionally, in the cases in which the estimate is considerably lower than the actual consumption, the perceived advantage will dissipate the moment the meter is read: in these cases, the outstanding balance can be particularly onerous for the user. Another disadvantage consists in the impossibility of promptly identifying any costly hidden leaks in the customer’s own plumbing system.
The rules that regulate the water sector, as for other essential services, require water meters to be located outdoors and easily accessible: this is to allow the meters to be regularly maintained and read. Consequently, the provider can ask to move meters – which in many cases are located indoors and not accessible – outside. To this end, Acea Ato 5 has launched some initiatives that aim to move meters outdoors at the lowest possible cost and inconvenience for users.
Acea Ato 5 is required to make at least two meter reading attempts per year and, if neither are successful, it is obliged to make a third attempt. This activity is among those carefully regulated by ARERA. As attempts to read meters are not always successful, in these days, Acea Ato 5 is asking all customers from whom it is not possible to take a meter reading, to provide a self-reading using one of the following methods: calling 800.639.251, via the website my.acea.it, using the MyAcea app, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (always specifying the supply number) or via SMS to 3188.8.131.523 (specifying the account number, customer number and the numbers shown on the meter followed by #).
Tariffs are calculated using the “per day” method, in line with the current regulations, as happens for other services, for example in the electricity sector.
Water consumption, obtained from the difference between two consecutive readings, is divided by the number of days between the two readings and the tariff relevant at the time is applied to each period.