When everything stops or slows down as a result of the Covid-19 health emergency, it is even more important to guarantee primary services like electricity and gas, drinking water, heating, public lighting, technology for intelligent services and environmental services.
For this reason, our commitment and that of our companies is all focussed on maintaining a constant presence on the ground and ongoing contact with customers. Especially in such difficult times.
We have decided to provide concrete support to socially-involved associations and to hospitals, doctors and all frontline health care workers tackling the emergency. To do this, we made a donation of €2 million (press release only italian version):
We know well that families are currently suffering hardships and so we have implemented key measures to help in the payment of bills for the entire duration of the emergency, supplementing those introduced by the Italian government.
In particular, at a national level, we have halted the suspension of supplies in the event of failed payment of bills and also the sending of reminders in the case of late payment.
We will continue to support families, commercial activities and other businesses in difficulty, with whom we can work out measures that may be needed, in terms of revised conditions and instalment plans, without resorting to interest payment on arrears. In full compliance with Government provisions and Lombardy Region rulings, as of Monday 18 May, all A2A Energy public offices and SpazioA2A centres in Milan, Brescia, Pavia and Rovato gradually started opening for their usual hours (press relase only italian version). Those in other towns remain temporarily closed. However, whenever possible, it is advisable to seek assistance via the A2A helplines or Internet. The re-opening of offices took place with new rules of access and service use in order to ensure the maximum safety for both customers and staff.
We are used to transforming waste into new material, in line with the principles of the circular economy. This A2A capability was immediately made available for the health emergency through collaboration with the Brescia-based firm Isinnova in the production of valves for emergency masks used to tackle the Covid-19.
Using the two 3D printers installed at the Cavaglià plastic sorting facility in north-west Italy, we printed Isinnova’s ‘Charlotte’ valve, with which it is possible to produce emergency respiratory masks by modifying normal snorkelling masks. The modified masks have been distributed to hospitals in the Brescia area by the local emergency response service.
For waste and street cleaning, we are helping face the health crisis by intensifying what we have always done: maintaining a constant presence to ensure the cleanliness and tidiness of our towns and cities.
We rolled out a special street disinfection plan using an authorized disinfectant product diluted in water: a total of 550 kilometres and about 3,800 waste collection containers sprayed in Brescia and 3,000 kilometres (a total of more than 4,200 streets) in Milan.
As regards the waste collection service, we asked people to follow specific rules based on the recommendations of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health), especially for Covid-19 patients in our towns and cities.
The difficulties faced by Italy have brought out our strength and unity. Italian flags put out at windows and the national anthem played at full volume from homes were all frequent occurrences as the pandemic took hold, signs of a country that is not willing to surrender.
We too wanted to contribute to this national spirit of solidarity and, together with the city authorities in Milan and Brescia, decided to light up a historic public building in each of the two cities with the Italian flag: Palazzo Marino and Palazzo della Loggia. A lighting installation put the Italian flag on the facades of the two city halls as a sign of unity and collaboration at a time of national hardship.
We continued to provide a prompt and efficient service despite the difficulties and the closure of local A2A offices. All made possible thanks to the efforts and commitment of our staff, enabling us to increase essential services like telephone assistance and thus ensure people help in the solving of their problems.
Additionally, as regards credit management, both for water and for gas, we took measures to promote a ‘caring’ approach towards customers late with payments, arranging personalized solutions for anyone unable to settle their bills and, above all, halting the supply suspension procedure for those who could not manage to make payments.
Our AEM and ASM Foundations, too, stepped up to help deal with the emergency.
AEM Foundation – A2A Group donated a total of €100,000, of which €35,000 to Milan’s Sacco hospital, €35,000 to the city’s Policlinico hospital and €30,000 to its Humanitas hospital. The funds were earmarked for the purchase of clinical apparatus, protection equipment for doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff, and for the molecular mapping of the virus.
ASM Foundation invited tenders for its ‘USATO SICURO 2 E NON SOLO’ scheme, which made easily and rapidly available a total of €100,000 for the funding of up to €5,000 each for community microprojects to help families and the weak and fragile.
Many schemes have been introduced since the beginning of the emergency in support of our staff, starting with the introduction of smartworking, which now involves 4,500 people working away from their office.
We also immediately moved to boost health and insurance protection for our workforce and, in partnership with the Mutua MBA mutual aid company, developed an ad hoc package in the event of infection by Covid-19. In addition to this protection, we also decided to stimulate internal solidarity, setting up a fund into which employees could voluntarily donate hours of work in support of colleagues affected by the virus. Once subscription to the fund was complete, we used Group resources to double the total amount put in by employees.
Finally, we also turned our attention to the entire workforce’s state of mind, extending our psychological support service and, given the circumstances, also making it available online.