Quality of services provided
Snam pursues its own business success by offering quality services under competitive terms, in compliance with all competition regulations.
In 2011, all customers requesting it were guaranteed the assignment of transportation capacity. This capacity increased from 368 to 370 million cubic metres at the start of the 2011-2012 thermal year.
Thanks to new upgrading works, the storage capacity went from 9.2 to 10.2 billion cubic metres. This capacity was fully assigned by April 2011 in observance of the new competitive procedures developed for the assignment of new capacity to end industrial customers, as provided for by Legislative Decree No. 130/10.
Snam’s commitment to customers is reflected in the Transportation, Distribution, Storage and Regasification Network Codes, the contractual documents containing clauses for access to and provision of service. The Codes are prepared by group companies based on criteria defined by the AEEG, and updated as a result of changes in both the Italian and the European regulatory framework and in the processes and systems through which the service is provided. Updates are subject to approval by the Authority, after a public consultation process initiated by the companies (except for the Distribution Code), and may also reflect requests put forth by service customers or third-party operators, the results of which are sent to the Authority for the sake of transparency.
All the Network Codes provide a series of indicators for monitoring the quality of service offered by the Company, in compliance with the regulatory provisions on the subject. Part of these indicators, referring to specific levels of commercial quality, gives rise to an automatic indemnity to customers in the event of failure to observe service quality standards. With respect to these indicators during 2011, the Company maintained a high level of performance: in distribution, the standard was met in over 99.2% of cases; for transportation and the other services, all services provided were performed in compliance with the required standards.
In the storage business, quality is monitored with a customer satisfaction survey conducted each year by sending a questionnaire to detect the degree of user satisfaction in terms of the clarity of the storage code, sales management, and the availability and efficiency of IT services. With such surveys, suggestions are also gathered from users aimed at improving the areas mapped in the questionnaire.
The 2011 survey had a 50% participation rate (33 responses out of 66 questionnaires sent), up from the previous year (approx. 39%). The ratings, expressed on a scale from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 10, broken down by the respective macro areas of reference, showed substantial confirmation of the perception of the service offered.
Starting in 2012, Snam plans to implement a similar system of measuring customer satisfaction for the transportation and distribution businesses, so as to be able to guide continual improvement programmes more effectively.
In a regulated market, not only is it important to apply the principles of transparency, impartiality, fairness and safeguarding free competition in the liberalised activities in the sector, but it is possible and advisable to improve service efficiency and simplify management of the activities, always in observance of the regulatory framework, thus generating value for customers and users.
During 2011, the actions directed toward these goals referred especially to the following areas of intervention:
- continuing activities for the implementation of websites for managing customer relations;
- further developing the Transportation Capacity website created to manage all allocation processes and capacity transactions between the Company and customers by exchanging communications with full legal and contractual validity.
Both Snam Rete Gas and Stogit have therefore adjusted their computer applications and their respective web interfaces with users to manage the specifics provided for by the new Balancing Regime. In carrying out these projects, still in progress, Snam Rete Gas adopted an approach geared toward engagement and debate with customers and toward analysing their requests.
The interventions of Snam Rete Gas have included the introduction of:
- new functions within the Transportation Capacity website that allow customers to monitor important operational and economic parameters associated with their own balancing position on a daily basis;
- functions implemented in the Billing website that allow for coordinated management of the billing process of Snam Rete Gas and of Balancing Users.
In May 2011, ISO 9001 certification was also obtained for the process of defining the network’s transportation capacity, which will be valid starting from the definition of the capacity published for the 2011-2012 thermal year.
Stogit’s interventions have involved developing the “Stogit Capacity” website for managing auction-based allocation processes for the User Balancing Service and Capacity Transfer processes. During 2012, this website will be further developed in order to fully cover information exchanges between Stogit and its customers, as provided for in the Storage Code with regard to allocation processes and storage capacity transactions.