Gas: start consultation on the method for the definition of distribution rates in the fourth regulatory period

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The Energy Authority has launched a consultation, which ends April 30, the criteria for determining the recognized cost of distribution services and gas measurement for the fourth regulatory period (QPR).
The document (DCO 56/2013/R/gas) follows two previous stages of consultation before a general outline of the procedure (341/2012/gas) and a special responsibility for the quality of the gas distribution service (501 / 2012/R/gas).

The guidelines presented are part of a context of reform of procedures for the award of the service (so-called races gas), based on the new concession areas, as defined by ministerial decree. The Authority has therefore analyzed issues relating to the methods of determining costs as paying particular attention to the implications and repercussions that the choices made will also have on the conduct of races, both in terms of neutrality with regard to competition for the service, with both the primary objective of ensuring the profitability of the service. This latter aspect is evaluated in terms of operational efficiency in the management, but also of efficiency of investment, according to the principle of selectivity, protection of users and in the perspective of social welfare maximization.
The document will be followed by specific focus groups with stakeholders (both practitioners and associations network customers) to study the various aspects discussed, both in relation to the fees that the quality of service.

Among the most significant innovations contained in the Authority, the possibility of extending from four to six years the duration of the current regulatory periods with the aim of increasing regulatory stability, but also more flexibility on some specific points, introducing review mechanisms infra-period, in order of priority of containment of the regulatory risk and, accordingly, the cost for users of the service.
Specifically, the Authority proposes a revision every three years, half of the period of adjustment, the objectives of the annual rate of change of productivity and a review on a biennial basis of certain parameters used for determining the rate of return on invested capital, with particular reference to the rate of return on risk-free assets, the rate of inflation used in the WACC formula, the theoretical rate of incidence of taxation and the parameter relative to the tax shield.

The document is subject to evaluation AIR (regulatory impact analysis) different hypotheses adjustment with reference to the mode of recognition of the costs of the network infrastructure for the distribution and measurement systems.
Due to the dynamics of the implementation of the new races in several years and the likely continuation of management on the basis of concessions in force even after the date of appointment of the new concessions during the QPR management coexist in scope and municipal management or supra. For these reasons, the Authority intends to fix both recognized unit costs per firm, differentiated according to firm size or density of one of the customers served by field unit is recognized costs, differentiated according to the density of customers inside the 'area.
The document also announced the intention to enter a specific procedure to unify methods and timing of determining the parameters of non-sector-specific WACC for all regulated services. Waiting for this reform, the Authority envisages the application of criteria substantially similar to those of the previous regulatory periods.
In the coming months is also provided a further consultation document with the initial guidance in relation to the structure of tariffs and equalization mechanisms. The publication of a document with the final guidelines is programmed by the summer, while the adoption of the final is scheduled for this autumn.

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