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Meeting people's needs. Supporting families in economic difficulty

Meeting people's needs. Supporting customers in economic difficulty

Many initiatives are in place to support customers and families facing economic or physical distress, temporary difficulties, or extraordinary events.

Energy services: over Euro 6.5 million in social bonuses

The 65,305 social bonuses granted to Hera customers in 2018 had a total value of over Euro 6.5 million. This resulted in customer savings ranging from Euro 112 to 165 for the electricity bonus for economically disadvantaged families, from Euro 173 to 620 for electricity bonus for physically disadvantaged families and from Euro 31 to 266 for the gas bonus. Such savings amount to 17% of the annual electricity bill and 10% of the gas bill. On the district heating front about Euro 130 thousand were paid (spread over 1,050 requests), with per-customer savings between Euro 118 and 163.

In fact, to complement the social bonuses already envisaged by the Regulatory Authority, Hera has set up additional measures such as the district heating bonus, introduced in 2010 on a voluntary basis.

 

Water service

As far as the water service is concerned, starting 1 January 2018 a social bonus for the supply of water to residential users facing social and economic hardship was established by Resolution ARERA 897/2017 of 21 December 2017 (for those with an Isee indicator not exceeding Euro 8,107.50 for families with a maximum of three dependent children, or not exceeding Euro 20,000 for large families). For the year 2018 only, customers could apply for social water bonuses starting 1 July 2018 at the municipalities where they live or to the CAF offices designated by the municipalities themselves, which, after checking eligibility, would forward the names of those entitled to the bonus to the water service operator. When fully operational, the application for water supply compensation must be submitted together with the applications for the electric and/or gas social bonus and will be valid for 12 months. The applications can be renewed within the month prior to the expiry of the benefit. As an exception, for 2018, the users concerned were paid a one-off compensation component equal to the share of the social bonus corresponding to what they would have received if they had had the opportunity to apply on 1 January 2018.

Hera's water leakage fund provides coverage in the event of hidden leaks downstream from the meter. By making a voluntary annual payment of Euro 15, reimbursements of up to Euro 10 thousand can be obtained on volumes that exceed one's normal average consumption by 80%.

Leakage fund (2015-18)

  • 46,620 (private and business) users were reimbursed
  • The average reimbursement amounted to Euro 1,433

Waste management services

For waste management services, subjects in conditions of serious social and welfare distress may be totally or partially exempt from the payment of the TARI or the quantity-based charge. Municipalities allocate funds for these discounts, based on the applicants' income. In some areas of Emilia-Romagna, there are also discounts for families with a single disabled member or with permanent disability of more than 60%.

Paying bills in instalments: Euro 121 million

Should customers find themselves facing financial hardship they can (if their past bills are paid) pay their bills in instalments (splitting bills into three to six instalments, or up to nine instalments if social services are involved). In 2018, over 214 thousand bills were paid in instalments, for over Euro 121 million (over 6,500 of which dedicated to business customers, for a value of Euro 31.6 million). As to individual regions, more than 209,480 bills were paid in instalments in Emilia-Romagna (+10.3% compared to last year), 3,149 in Triveneto (-24.4% compared to last year) and 1,989 in Marche (+2.9% compared to last year), for a value of about Euro 118 million in Emilia-Romagna, about Euro two million in Triveneto and about Euro 1.4 million in Marche.

In 85 municipalities, protocols have been agreed with local authorities to prevent utility service disconnections.  Application of the protocols achieved highly positive results in 2018, with eligible customers avoiding 89.6% of potential disconnections.

For further information on how to obtain easy terms of payment, please refer to the SOStegno Hera handbook at www.gruppohera.it/clienti/casa/sos_sostegno_hera.