15 March 2019
Lisbon, 15th March 2019 - Mr. Andrea Guerrini, WAREG President and Commissioner of ARERA-Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment, participated in the annual international conference on water and wastewater, in Lisbon
This year the conference, organised at the School of Law at the University of Lisbon, aimed at promoting dialogue between regulators, stakeholders and academic world on tariff sustainability under different financial, environmental and social perspectives, including the legal and socio-economic aspects of their implementation. Among the keynote speakers Mrs. Ana Albuquerque, Commissioner of ERSAR-Water and Waste Services Regulation Authority presented the new water tariff regulation in Portugal, highlighting the importance of tariffs in ensuring sustainability in the water sector. Sustainability, measured in different perspectives such as infrastructural, environmental, social and economic, can only be ensured if tariffs are adequate and allow for a sustainable cost recovery policy in the long-term. Addressing future water sector challenges such as changing demographics, climate change, human rights issues, future investment needs and responding to more demanding consumers, will be possible if all stakeholders are aware of the need to be more efficient and to follow a sustainability approach.
WAREG President highlighted that in Europe, social sustainability of water prices for domestic customers is addressed in very different ways. In all European countries there are vulnerable customers who may experience problems in paying water bills, hence are subject to partial or total curtailment of their drinking water supply. However, national rules on curtailments often seem not to be able to differentiate those customers who are not able to pay from those ones who are not willing to pay their bills.
Mr Guerrini continued by presenting the positive experience of Italy, where the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment (ARERA) recently started to set specific rules to protect vulnerable customers by ensuring them 50 liters/habitant/day for free. ARERA is also studying other possible measures to protect vulnerable customers, including the introduction of a specific bonus.
More information: https://www.waterwastelisbon.com/more/information