The tenders for assigning gas distribution areas seem to be more and more distant, (pursuant to amendment 3.71 of the rapporteurs of legislative decree converting LD “Milleproroghe” no. 192/2014, the deadline for alternative interventions of the Region in case of the lack of publication of the call for tenders by the Communes regarding the areas of the first group has been postponed to July 31, 2015), although they are immanent. This shilly-shallying of dates is certainly not good for the sector, which in the meantime is getting ready rationalizing its own resources, and where possible, becoming part of other companies. We talk about this with the sector’s expertRoberto Di Lucchio, sole director at Teknegas srl.
Apart from the postponement, the area tenders will take place in Italy in the first place, with respect to other European countries. At the same time, we are waiting for possible indications precisely from Europe. Sometimes being the first brings advantages, but it also entails efforts related to the system testing. Others may draw on such an experience to do better. We saw it in the case of technology implementation in the past, such as power meters. What do the companies think when it comes to gas?
We are the first country to deal with this simplification of the system. It is too soon if it is right or wrong. Although the first tender round has been postponed to the end of December, there is still some incertitude concerning the time-frame and the developments. Some critical issues have not been clarified yet. We are waiting until the Regulatory Authority resolves the aspects of return on investment required by the smart meter implementation, as they are fears that it may not be produced in case of the transfer from the successor company. I have not observed important signals at the European level.
Do you think that nonetheless, the entire system will benefit form the area division?
From the economic point of view, the reduction and the rationalized concentration of the distribution is reasonable, because the situation in Italy is still fragmented. The question is, if these are the most efficient methods and instruments to do this.
If you think of an Olympic game, athletic preparation is very important. What would be the best preparation of a company for these tenders?
According to the distribution companies, the first winning parameter is to mark the presence in the area. One of the analyses indicate that the 60-70% presence in the area is considered strategically winning. For this reason, there some areas which are not sought after, whereas in other ones something may change. Another key element is the improvement of efficiency in terms of operativeness and operating costs. In these respect wider areas may lead to optimization of some elements of management.
Indeed, the smallest areas are already supposed to be absorbed by other bigger ones.
In order to respond best to the requirements of the areas, is there any technology implementation which is more considered than others?
Different utilities are implementing the operations management software of the teams. This allows management of the worker teams through tablets or similar devices, by sending work orders for the next day without going to the central stock. This optimizes the management of activities of the workers involved in a central supervision of single operations.
As for the plants in turn, thehre is a growth in remote control systems aimed to render the management more efficient.