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gioved 28 maggio 2020
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The Institutional Activities of
Fondazione per l'Ambiente
are supported by


AFFORD - Affordability of tariffs of main local public services in Piedmont

Project coordinator: Fondazione per l'Ambiente

Co-financed by: Fondazione CRT; EGEA SpA 


The project is implemented in the framework of 2010 - European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

Innovation interesting main local public services in the last decade regarded mostly the following aspects:
- attempts of partial liberalization,
- increasing importance of environmental policies,
- weakening of interactions between public utilities and municipalities.
While pursuing primarily industrial, environmental and governance objectives, none of these tendencies address the problems of the most vulnerable social groups of the population, for which specific policies seem to be fragmented and patchy.

Consumption choices of goods requiring periodically recurring payment constitute an important basket of environmental goods and services, such as gas, electricity, district heating, water, waste.
Contrary to goods where there is a perfect correspondence between consumption/buying decisions and payments, in goods requiring periodically recurring payments the perception of the contract and of its elements, including the price, is subject to some distortions (cognitive biases) which weaken the traditional model of market rationality. Alternative instruments compared to those generally applied by the standard economic approach are needed to analyse such distortions. Particularly relevant insight can be offered by research fields like behavioral economics, experimental economics and cognitive economics.
Therefore new space exists for evaluation of mechanisms influencing the microeconomic bases of arrearage and, more generally, the issue of management of periodically recurring payments and energy and financial education.


The project aims at analysing the issue of affordability of tariffs of main local public services, in particular energy-environment related services, identifying the factors of change and the impacts on vulnerable groups. This in order to provide local policy makers and stakeholders with the necessary knowledge and instruments to face a topic that, considering the macroeconomic context, is likely to attract more and more attention.

0. Statistic researches, meetings with operators and stakeholders, building of partnerships, preliminary studies on legislative and regulatory context.

1. Research, organization and analysis of data on arrearage related to main local public services with reference to customers of multi-utilities in the Turin metropolitan area, and in particular in the City of Turin. The methodology adopted will aim to facilitate a specific information flow on affordability, nowadays fragmented, amongst utilities, municipalities and the Region.

2. Analysis of the relation between vulnerable users and bills (or other forms of periodically recurring payments for goods and services) and analysis of possible anomalies in consumer behaviour with respect to the classic paradigm. A qualitative analysis will be developed to investigate the cognitive basis of vulnerable users behavior whit respect to bills. That analysis will apply techniques of social survey to group of users representing the arrearage basin in the City of Turin. The analysis also intends to investigate the effect of periodicity of bills and of the lack of signals providing incentives on users behavior. 

3. Communication and dissemination of project results.


- Final research report on Activity 1. research, organization and analysis of data on arrearage: Arrears in local public services in Piedmont Region: a preliminary analysis on three sectors.
Download the Executive Summary in English or visit the project webpage for further information (in Italian). 

- Final research report on Activity 2. Analysis of the relation between vulnerable users and bills: The Poor and Money: Choices, consumptions and bills.
Download the Executive Summary in English or visit the project webpage in Italian for the full report (in Italian). 


The project is expected to have a positive impact on the following groups of actors, that are also the beneficiaries of the final dissemination of results:
- Public administration
- Social and aid agencies and voluntary associations
- Local public services companies
- Bank foundations
- School, university education, professional training.

September 2010 - December 2012.