In ATO 1 Toscana Nord the ACEA Group is present through its subsidiary CREA, which holds shares in GEAL (integrated water services operator for the city of Lucca alone), AZGA Nord and Lunigiana Acque

As noted, GEAL S.p.A. is not the Territorial management body in accordance with Law 36/1994 (now Legislative Decree 152/06), and therefore the “standardised method” pursuant to DM LL.PP (Ministry of Public Works Decree) of 1 August 1996 for tariff review does not apply to it, but the entire method applies, based on the decisions of the Interdepartmental Committee for Economic Planning (CIPE).

Following an appeal submitted by GEAL and other Integrated Water Services at national level against the Prime Minister’s Office and the Interdepartmental Committee for Economic Planning, upheld by the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio, said Interdepartmental Committee for Economic Planning, after many years of complete inactivity that had led to considerable financial damage to the operators in the sector (the last decision made in this regard was no. 131/2002, which took effect from 1 July 2002), finally issued resolution no. 117/2008 published in the Official Journal on 26 March 2009, containing the directives for the tariff adjustments to be implemented in 2009 and 2010.

On 28 May 2010, the company’s Board of Directors resolved the approval of the tariffs for the water, sewerage and waste water treatment services, effective from 1 July 2010. The new tariffs were calculated on the basis of Interdepartmental Committee for Economic Planning resolution 117/2008, the circulars of the Ministry of Economic Development nos. 3629 of 25 September 2009 and 3636 of 18 May 2010, and resolution of the Town Council no. 413 of 25 August 2009.

The set of forms for determination of the water service tariffs was submitted to the competent Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Craft Trade and Agriculture of Lucca, setting forth a tariff of increase of 5.1%, calculated on the basis of 3 elements:

  • the first relates to the forecast rate of inflation in 2009, whose impact was only 0.7%, given that Interdepartmental Committee for Economic Planning resolution 3636 improperly made reference to the provisional and forecast report relating to 2010 approved by the CdM (Council of Ministers) on 22 September 2009, despite an actual inflation rate being recorded of more than 1%;
  • the second comprises the change in the ratio of revenues to operating costs of the services in question, which had a negative impact of 0.1%;
  • the third element is determined by the ratio of investments actually carried out in 2009 to investments planned by the Municipality of Lucca, with an impact of 4.5%.

It should also be noted that on 10 November 2010, the Consorzio di bonifica Auser-Bientina (Auser-Bientina reclamation consortium) asked the company to sign an agreement in which, on the basis of the maxims of Regional Law 34/94 and subsequent amendments, provision is made for an annual contribution from the company, set at 80,262.55 euros by said Consortium, based on the benefit obtained from said use of the reclamation works, the network and the water service works under management by the Consortium, effective retroactively from 2009.

In this regard, the company asked the Municipality of Lucca for an extraordinary tariff review of the integrated water service in order to fully cover the expense in question, as provided for in paragraph 12 of art. 16 of Regional Law 34/94.

As regards companies AZGA Nord S.p.A. and Lunigiana S.p.A., in October 2010, the l’Autorità dell’Ambito Territoriale Ottimale n. 1 Toscana Nord (Tuscany North Area Authority) informed the company that the administrative procedure, aimed at checking the terms of termination of management within the scope of the above regulations, was concluded and acknowledged that management of integrated water services assigned to Lunigiana Acque and AZGA Nord ended on 31 December 2010 without the need for the proper resolution from the grantor. 

Upon expiry of the concession, the grantor is obliged to reimburse the costs incurred, i.e. the net carrying amount of the works carried out, plants and equipment, at its own expense.

AZGA Nord was put into liquidation in December 2010 and the liquidators were authorised to continue to operate temporarily, also in order to ensure the continuity and correct management of integrated water services beyond the expiry of 31 December 2010 and until replacement by the new operator that shall be assigned following a public call for tender.