people hired
thanks to the induced employment
generated by Hera in 2017
million euro
Investments in innovation and
digitalization. 13 projects in smart city,
circular economy and 4.0 utilities
of reused soil
in projects implemented in 2016
and 2017

Economic development and social inclusion

The “water leak fund”

In July 2014, Hera Spa defined a joint regulation across all the areas it serves that sets up a “leak fund” to protect customers in the event of water leaks in their plumbing system, i.e. downstream from the meter. This voluntary instrument partially covers bills of even very high amounts that are due to accidental and unknown leaks within a customer’s own plumbing system. Pay paying Euro 15 per year in their bill, participating customers can receive, for hidden water leaks within their system, a reimbursement for the entire amount for the volumes that exceed their usual average consumption by 80%, up to a maximum of Euro 10,000.

Participation in the fund is not compulsory and customers may withdraw at any time by simply asking to do so.

The “leak fund” is exclusively designed to cover the additional costs incurred by customers that have a water leak.

Water leak fund (thousands of Euro)

Leak fund and beneficiary customers
2015 2016 2017
Funds disbursed (thousands of Euro) 14,555 14,990 17,636
Number of beneficiary customers 11,033 10,902 12,539
Average reimbursement (Euro) 1,319 1,375 1,407

The fund’s balance at 31 December 2017 is about Euro 0.44 million, (including interest income). The balance, relating to 2017 alone, is negative by Euro 2.5 million. During 2017, coinciding with a prolonged and unusual dry period, which clearly has a direct effect not only on breakage of pipes for which the operator is responsible but also on the internal plumbing systems owned by users, the number of requests to access the fund has significantly increased compared to the previous year (up about 28%). This led to a significant reduction in the reserve, the balance of which, at 31/12, was however still positive.

Since the fund is exclusively for the benefit of the participating customers, interest of Euro 2734 was calculated on the monthly balances set aside at the legal rate in force. Since being introduced, the fund has reimbursed around 40 families and businesses, 12,539 of which in 2017, for an average reimbursement of Euro 1407. Less than 4% of customers is not covered by the “Leak fund”. In 2017, about 1000 requests for withdrawals from the fund were received.

The per capita tariff rewards water savings and helps large households

The per capita tariff was introduced by the former Water and Waste Regulatory Authorities of Bologna, Modena and Ravenna (only for the Faenza municipality) to encourage water savings and help large households. In fact, the number of family members is one of the parameters taken into consideration when calculating the bill with the per capita tariff. The tariffs favour low levels of consumption and penalize consumption that exceeds the amount set for each person based on the water-saving goals of the Water Protection Plan of the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna. The Plan established a basic supply of 150 litres per day per capita, equal to 55 m3 per year. The per-capita supply and the consumption bands vary according to the number of family members, thereby favouring large households which necessarily have a greater requirement.

In 2017, the AEEGSI (now ARERA), through the provision on tariff articulation, adopted this methodology as compulsory and to be applied in all municipalities with a gradual criterion starting in 2018 and to be completed by 2022.

The per capita tariff is applied only to residential users and, in 2017, was applied in 52 municipalities in the Province of Bologna (including the city of Bologna), in 26 municipalities in the Province of Modena (including the city of Modena) and in one municipality in the Province of Ravenna. 53% of the population served by the Group resides in the municipalities that apply the per capita tariff.

When environmental and social sustainability go hand-in-hand

In 2017, Hera SpA continued its commitment to supporting projects such as “Manolibera”, “WEEE in prison”, “RAEEbilitando”, aimed at the social and labour inclusion of many categories of people in unfavourable situations, serving a prison term, just out of prison or who are in a situation of obvious physical and mental disadvantage.

The “Manolibera” project came to light in 2011 thanks to the will of Hera, the Techne Training Institute and the contribution of the Comieco Consortium, with the creation of a craft paper mill at the Forlì Penitentiary. An important role is played by monitoring and verifying the activities carried out by the social cooperative CILS and by the Istituto Techne for the training (developed on three courses) of the participating prisoners, which allows a continuous and concrete job opportunity.

The commercial and marketing part is managed by the Berti Editorial Bindery of Forlì. The exclusivity of the production methods and the artistic, social and ecological value of the creations made in the paper mill have made the products unique in their field.

The promotion of the products takes place on the main platforms for the organization of events and wedding planners. In addition, promotion and sales activities continued through the national prison economy network “Freedhome”.

The recent contribution of the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna will lead to the future creation of specific courses on hand or machine binding for the prisoners themselves, to be held directly in the laboratory.

In 2017, the “RAEEbilitando” project fully resumed operation after a period of inactivity due to the renovation of the laboratory premises. In July 2017, the project partners (Hera SpA, Consorzio Remedia, Opera dell’Immacolata and Tred Carpi Srl) agreed to renew the memorandum of understanding, thus enabling the project to continue. Under the project, disabled children and people in difficult situations working in the Bologna laboratory were able to resume their work, dismantling WEEE (about 19 tonnes of small electrical and electronic equipment).

During 2017, a total of 8 people were involved in the project, one of whom came from external internships. 125 tonnes of material have been treated since the project was launched, and precious materials have been recovered, including copper, aluminium, plastics and glass.

The long-standing experience of the “WEEE in prison” project continued, an example of collaboration between institutions and territorial networks, in an alliance between social economy, training and profit system, pursuing the value of dedication and social responsibility of companies. The project started in 2008 in the Bologna, Ferrara and Forlì prisons, and is the outcome of research, organization and coordination of Hera SpA and Techne. Later, the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna joined to support the project, as did many other bodies and organizations among which there are the Ecolight, Ecodom and ERP recovery and recycling consortia.

The three workshops were set up directly inside the prisons and have become stable and operational production sites. Starting with a training course, the prisoners learned and became familiar with all the operating procedures required for disassembly of large and small WEEE waste provided by Hera’s waste collection centres. After being treated, these devices are sent to recovery plants to obtain the raw and second materials of which they are composed.

From the start of the project to 2017, 97 prisoners have been involved in the training and then employed in the numerous activities of the workshops, no fewer than 33 of them have been hired or a job has been found for them in the area by the social cooperatives that manage the workshops.

Since the project’s inception the total quantity of electric and electronic equipment processed in the workshop is over 4653 tonnes.