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Digital meters and new network sections: this is how the gas operator improves the service

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UDINE. Gas distribution in Udine and in 17 municipalities in the hinterland will be renewed from January 1, 2022 when AcegasApsAmga will take over the service, a manager already known to 13 of the municipalities concerned, including Udine, new for the remaining 5: service load for the next 12 years with an important dowry of investments – as much as 80 million euros – and innovations that promise important repercussions in terms of safety (fundamental when it comes to gas), environmental sustainability, energy transition. And last but not least: digitization, in the form of 90 thousand new meters capable of detecting leaks and blocking the supply, even in the event of major earthquakes.

To illustrate the qualifying points of the offer that allowed AcegasApsAmga to score the tender, which is worth 115 million euros, is the CEO of the company, Roberto Gasparetto, who first of all notes the “primacy” of Udine in the wider national scenario.

Engineer, the one from Udine is one of the first assigned in Italy

«It is one of the first to have started and it is the sixth, perhaps the seventh, to have been awarded in compliance with the Letta decree of 2000, which provided for an expiration of all gas concessions and their re-assignment through tenders. The implementing rule of the decree arrived in 2011, Udine published the call in 2015, re-published it after some postponements and adjustments in 2018 and here we are “.

Two participants, you the winners. What are the pluses of the AcegasApsAmga offer?

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“The benefits for the local community are primarily of an economic nature. We have, in fact, inserted elements of efficiency that provide for an economic impact on citizens’ tariffs. The distribution component in the bill weighs about 13%, therefore a minority part, but any cost containment, even minimal, helps ».

One of your watchwords is safety …

«I would say an elevation of safety, because we already start from a very high level, we operate at a higher standard than those set by the regulatory authority (Arera), just remember that we check the networks not every three years, but every year. Now the intention is to work more and more from a predictive point of view ».

That means?

«That we aim to operate before the failure occurs, having a large knowledge base available. Then when the failure occurs, which can happen, we guarantee prompt intervention within 60 minutes from the call in 99% of cases, 5 days maximum for carrying out the simplest work on the network. We can do this thanks to the skills, professionalism and responsibility of people. We have workers – 60 people in all in the area affected by the tender (970 in Fvg, 1.755 at group level) who allow us to obtain these results, also thanks to a trade union agreement that allowed us to go down to 45 minutes for ready intervention. In short, we are more performing than what the authorities ask of us and our ace are people ».

What are your plans for energy transition and environmental sustainability?

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«Very aggressive, despite the fact that the reference standard is now 10 years old and the green deal was not on the agenda at the time. We aim, like the Hera group in general, to reduce emissions by 37% and we have planned to replace LPG and diesel systems with methane systems as part of the extension of the network, reducing emissions by 15% and 30% respectively ” .

As for the counters?

«In the context of the 80 million investments we have planned, the lion’s share is undoubtedly played by the meters, which are still largely analogue. The group has adopted a system of smart meters, readable from a distance and equipped with a device that allows to intercept leaks and to automatically cut off the gas. Even in the event of earthquakes. In general, the new devices will allow more precise measurements and greater safety ».

Time for replacement?

“We have already started some of them. The intention is to proceed with tight deadlines. To change all 90,000 meters within two, maximum three years, so as to make the benefits of the race available to users as soon as possible and immediately let the community experience this new season ».

What other investments?

“We will improve the conditions of the network, we will extend it by 100 kilometers (out of the current 1,200) to the areas not served, today fueled by diesel or LPG, and we will work on the 22 city cabins where the gas is transformed into low pressure: they will have zero environmental impact” .

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