Restrictions and disconnections are still suspended; possibility for users to pay bills and outstanding amounts in installments upon request; promoting the social water bonus in order to encourage wider use among those who are entitled to it; and the possibility to establish an additional, local supplementary bonus.
In response to requests made by local residents, Acea Ato 5 has implemented new extraordinary measures, along the lines of the initiatives taken since the outbreak of the Covid-19 health emergency, so as to meet the needs of families most in difficulty as a result of the lockdown.
The Company, operating within the constraints of the tools available, has decided not to resume arrears management activities, despite the fact that the suspension of these procedures already ceased on May 4, 2020, and to postpone them further. Therefore, all measures to restrict and suspend the water supply of users in arrears are still blocked, as they have been since the beginning of the emergency.
Well aware of the financial crisis that is affecting families and firms in the Ciociaria area (roughly corresponding to the province of Frosinone) and all across Italy, the Company has decided, as an additional support measure for users, to give those interested the opportunity to pay the bills issued during the health emergency period with flexible instalment plans. It will also be possible to pay previous due amounts in instalments (even if such requests have been previously refused), by choosing the instalment plan that is most appropriate to the needs expressed by applicants.
Moreover, special attention is being given to encouraging the users concerned to apply for the Social water bonus, an existing measure aimed at reducing the water bills of families experiencing social and financial hardship.
Unfortunately, until now, only 2% of Ato 5’s integrated water service users have applied for the bonus; this figure contrasts with the number of potential users who are entitled to it. Since the beginning of the year, it has been extended also to recipients of basic income or basic pension (approximately 18,000 in the province of Frosinone).
In fact, the water bonus is granted to families with an equivalent financial situation index (ISEE) lower than €8,265 (up to 3 dependent children) and lower than €20,000 if they have more than 3 dependent children; as previously mentioned, it is also granted to families with recipients of basic income or basic pension.
Users entitled to the water bonus enjoy the benefit of exemption from the tariff for the variable costs (euros/sq. m.) relating to water main, sewerage and purification services up to 18.25 cubic meters of water supplied per year for each family member. With the bonus, a typical family of three that consumes about 90 cubic meters per year, can have its bill cut by about 40%.
In addition, Acea Ato 5 has given its full availability to the local management body of Frosinone to make arrangements to establish a supplementary water bonus in order to support families in difficulty which, having an ISEE within a slightly higher range than the set one, are currently excluded from any kind of benefit.