European Federation of Public Service Unions
This is an outline of a recent article in La Reppublica. Sunday the Italians may vote in a referendum against privatization of water. We encourage all Italians in Europe to vote!
Costs, leaking, efficiency: the fake myths of private water
First myth is that public water pipelines are leaking a lot wrong: the worst leaking pipeline is the one in Rome, managed by Acea, a private S.p.A. (società per azioni) in the stock exchange, owned by Rome municipality, Caltagirone (one of the biggest italian manager) and Suez.
Alraeconomia published a special file to discard all the fake assumptions of the water service privatization. Starting from costs. According to the national commission of control on the water resources in the next 30 years 64billion € are needed to entertain and renewal of national pipelines. 2 billions x year, 49,7% for the new pipelines, networks, plants and maintenance, 48,3% for sewage and depuration. The ones who pay will be the state, the regions and municipalities...
2nd myth: with the private ownership the bill will not be lower but higher. To the costs above listed there will be others. To do the works (which should be done by public authorities) the companies will charge the investments to the bills, as provided by law. In the bill of every Italian will be included not only the general works but also the company’s profits. Competition will not reduce the costs. On the contrary, as fixed by law, the costs of all investments will end on the bill. Business say thanks, the consumers not, as if they want lower tariffs then the investments will be blocked.
Water management privatization (law of 2009) has increased his costs. A comparison of the public and the private management shows that the first increased costs by 12% more in respect to the forecasts, the 2nd only increased by 1%. Since 2008 costs have increased non-stop, average of +6,7% (follow examples in the various cities).
Business logic is to make profits, possibly at short term; they do not care for social optimization and cannot be controlled, not even by sanctions
(Belgium is learning this with energy and water is also private in BE...which lead to the accident of the depuration plant last year...)
Another myth is that private water management is very efficient. Wrong. One of the best pipelines of the country is the Milano one: 100% public, where water is checked various times per day and leaks are minimal. Therefore it is a dogma to say that private management is more efficient.
Everywhere water was given to private tariffs have increased. In Calabria they have doubled the bills. The company managing Calabria with a 30 years contract raised the tariff by 5% with no reason; this equals the whole budget of Cosenza which has not paid and is declared unsolvent.
Private or public there is too much waste: every day 104 liters per habitant are wasted= 27% of the water used. (.....).
1/3 of Italians do not have a regular and sufficient access to water, 8 million do not have drinkable water and 95 million liters are used for artificial snow.
The private companies would move the water networks in the more profitable areas. There is a total lack of national, economic and administrative regulation aimed to finance and support necessary technologies, organizing integrated public services like water and waste.
Links to this and other relevant articles:http://www.repubblica.it/politica/2011/06/03/news/acqua_altroconsumo-17185748/?ref=HREC1-3
campaign I WILL VOTEhttp://www.repubblica.it/politica/2011/06/02/news/referendum_votare_logo_scarica_stampa-17091074/?ref=HREC1-2
ARTISTS FOR WATER AND AGAINST NUCLEARhttp://tv.repubblica.it/copertina/l-appello-di-celentano-questione-di-vita-o-di-morte/69842?video=&ref=HREC1-2
FP CGIL CAMPAIGN – ROSSANA DETTORI FOR PUBLIC WATER
SPOT ON NATIONAL TV BROADCASTING (RAI 3)http://www.youtube.com/user/FunzionePubblicaCgilhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmNsB0rvebk
Jerry Van Den Berge
Policy officer for Water, Waste and EWC’s
EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE UNIONS
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