The company as stakeholder

Acea protects and turns to account its tangible and intangible assets, moving in the wake of a sustainable financial position, governing the internal requirements linked to operations and the growth prospects on a consistent basis with the stances expressed in the corporate mission and the strategic Plan.

Investments, amounting to Euro 413 million, dropped 12.7% with respect to the Euro 473 million in 2010. Water management services, with Euro 230 million, absorbed around 56% of the total amount, and activities relating to energy networks, with around Euro 130 million, use 31% of total investments, while the volumes intended for the following areas decreased: environment in which measures are being completed on the S. Vittore del Lazio waste-to-energy plant, and energy, following the exit of the energy generation company Tirreno Power from the Acea Group boundaries.



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Amortisation, depreciation, provisions and writedowns, being components of the company’s self-financing, amounted in 2011 to Euro 433.3 million, +24.3% with respect to the Euro 348.6 million in 2010, mainly due to the rise in provisions made for covering potential regulatory risks in the water sector.

The physical (physical business structures) and logical (intangible assets) protection of the company assets, the prevention of fraudulent phenomenon, privacy, IT security, reception and surveillance services are overseen, at centralised level, by the Asset Protection Unit of the Parent Company, with the support of the Heads of the Protection Management System (RSGP) identified within each Group company.

The procedure for the handling and control of access to company sites, issued last year, plays a significant role for the protection of the assets and security, therefore, during 2011, for the purpose of making it more efficient, Acea developed an automatic system for managing the access requests and issuing company badges for entering the offices. On a consistent basis with the process for the centralisation of the management of company protection, during the year Acea SpA took over the management of the reception and security services, already seen to at central headquarters and in the public hall, also at the operational premises of other Group companies including Acea Energia, Acea Energia holding, Acea Produzione, Acea Distribuzione, LaboratoRI, Acea Ato 2, and Acea Ato 5. For such purposes, a specific tender contract was awarded for the supply of the services associated with reception and security, which envisaged the definition -standard for all the companies involved - of the optimum service parameters and the discounting back of the corresponding tariffs.

The company also oversees the security of the information systems involving measures targeted at protecting them from potential risks and violation of data; in 2011, a study was put together for the collation, monitoring and centralised handling of the alarms relating to attempts to get into the company systems, damage to the networks by means of viruses or the stealing of information without the user knowing. In conclusion, with the supervision and co-ordination of the Parent Company, Acea Distribuzione and Acea Ato 2 have put together vulnerability test activities on the remote control and monitoring systems for the respective networks, which will take place as from 2012.

Each year, Acea carries out awareness raising measures in relation to the aspect of corporate protection aimed at increasing the security culture in-house and improving communication between the Protection Management System Managers (RSGP) of each Group company and the employees. With particular attention to this aspect, it is currently involved in the development of a portal dedicated to security.

Technological innovation, developed and implemented in the various operating sectors, is a further distinctive element of Acea’s strategic vision.

Simply consider the Geographic Information System – GIS for the mapping of the networks, applied both in the water sector and the energy area (distribution and public lighting), the district metering method for the detection of water losses, the remote control systems, the functional technologies for the reduction of the emissions at waste-to-energy plants, experimental measures for the smart networks, just to name a few (see the section Customers and the Community – Quality supplied – and Environmental issues).

Box – Measures taken by the Sector authorities vis-à-vis Acea: preliminary investigations, bonuses and fines

The penalty and fine system established by the Electricity and Gas Authority (AEEG) vis-à-vis the companies operating on the electricity market contributes towards inciting the companies to improve their performances. Over the last few years, Acea Distribuzione has achieved important results in this sense with constant improvements in the electricity supply continuity performances, both with regard to the number of black outs and their duration, thus obtaining the acknowledgment of economic bonuses as from the 2008 service performances and from then on each year. Once again in 2011, for the service results relating to 2010, the AEEG overall approved the payment to Acea Distribuzioneof an incentive amounting to around Euro 5.34 million (Resolution ARG/elt 170/11).

During 2011, the AEEG - carrying out its supervisory and control function - followed up the measures previously adopted vis-à-vis Acea Distribuzione: in fact, two procedures launched in 2009 were concluded. In relation to the first one (VIS 18/11), the company was fined, for an amount of Euro 571 thousand, for the violations committed in the three-year period 2005-2007 relating to the correct management of certain aspects of the energy dispatching and metering activities; with regard to the second one (VIS 91/11), Acea Distribuzione was fined, for a total of Euro 243 thousand, for not having fully observed the obligation to make certain data available to the sales companies, functional for correct billing of the energy. Furthermore, preliminary proceedings (VIS 60/11) are underway for alleged violations of current provisions regarding registration of the black outs and handling of the report registers with reference to the individual specific episode which occurred in August 2009.

The Italian Anti-trust Authority (AGCM) in turn took action vis-à-vis a number of Acea Group companies so as to ascertain any corporate conduct which might be taken as improper commercial practices, prohibited by the Consumer Code (Italian Legislative Decree No. 206/2005).

Specifically, in December 2011 proceedings launched in July against Acea Energia concluded, with the application of two fines of Euro 500 thousand; the proceedings were originally launched on the basis of consumer reports received between October 2008 and September 2011 (unrequested activations of electricity and natural gas supplies for the purpose of acquiring residential customers on the free market). This ruling was challenged by Acea Energia, which presented an appeal.

In conclusion, the AGCM forwarded a number of requests for information (so-called preliminary proceedings) vis-à-vis Acea Ato 2, so as to check the correct corporate conduct regarding the procedures adopted for the handling of certain aspects of the utility relationship (for example: reading of consumption and billing; repair procedures and replacement of meters, transfers, etc.) Further to the information provided, there were no other communications from the Authority.

With regard to public lighting, the improvement of the performances relating to the service carried out in the Municipality of Rome continued in 2011 as well. The percentage of measures on faults carried out beyond the maximum deadlines established by the contract fell from 1.3% (2010) to 0.6% (2011); in relation to this, Acea was fined for an overall amount of around Euro 30 thousand, down by 35% with respect to the fines of Euro 46 thousand of last year.

With regard to disputes concerning environmental issues with the appointed public authorities (Arpa, the Forestry Commission, etc.) please see the section Environmental issues and the Environmental accounts.