Quality and innovation
Innovation and the adoption of technologies play a central role for Italgas in improving service quality and safety standards, with repercussions on the overall efficiency of the distribution system. Maintaining high standards of both technical and commercial service, in line with the principles of efficiency and continuity, is an objective pursued already from the design and construction stages of distribution networks and later on in service management.
|Compliance with the maximum time set for services subject to specific commercial quality standards (%)||97.6|
|Punctuality in appointments arranged with customers (%)||98.3|
|High- and medium-pressure networks subject to inspection (%)||53.0|
|Low-pressure networks subject to inspection (%)||55.4|
|Compliance with the maximum time for reaching the call-out site for emergency assistance (%)||96.1|
With this in mind, the company’s assets include a centre of technological excellence – the Italgas Reti LAB. Areas of operation include: rhino-analytical tests; instrumental tests on gas odourisation; the calibration of gas meters and other instrumentation supporting gas distribution activities and mechanical tests on network materials.
The Centre also takes part in international projects aimed at research and development into renewable energy sources and it supports the development of expertise in the sector contributing to the publication of applied research articles in both national and international journals. Thanks to the ability to anticipate sector developments and develop exclusive knowhow, the Italgas Reti LAB has taken on a key role in the national context, making its professionalism available not only to Group companies, but also to other operators in the sector.
Italgas security services
Italgas oversees it distribution network through rapid response, when there are breakdowns or gas leaks, and scheduled search for leaks, which provides inspections tens of thousands of miles of pipelines. These tests are conducted using highly sophisticated equipment such as laser detectors, and they record qualitative standards higher than those established by the Regulatory Authority.
The gas distribution sector is making its contribution to smart cities by implementing smart metering, a system that allows telemetry and telegestion of gas counters, on a large scale. Smart metering is one of the factors that can accelerate the move from technological applications to a fully-fledged communication infrastructure on an urban scale: the so-called Smart Urban Infrastructure (SUI) through which to create a greater impact on the life and well-being of individuals and communities, from the perspective of smart communities. In this sense, Italgas is committed to the progressive replacement of gas meters at end users with newgeneration equipment with new functionalities. The innovation process of the metering system, regulated by Resolution ARG/gas no. 155 of 22 October 2008 includes the objectives of facilitating the technological innovation of the metering and accounting process of natural gas withdrawn by end users, improving the quality of the natural gas metering, sales and distribution service and promoting the awareness of consumption.
The project was conceived to improve the service and management of technical interventions on the move and it provides the equipment of iPads with numerous functionalities for technical staff to facilitate work in the field. This established technology has, in recent years, produced concrete results such as the activation of a paperless process, the rationalisation of processes with the consequent reduction of the daily mileage of technicians and the consequent reductionof CO2 emissions, an increase in productivity, a reduction in the time taken to execute jobs and back office activities, a reduction in error margins due to inaccuracies in transcribing data.
Odourisation is a fundamental activity for distribution safety, because it allows the presence of gas to be recognised. In 2016, the company continued to invest in the development of the “Optimisation of the odorising volume injected into the network” project which involved experiments being carried out at several reduction plants relating to an innovative control system for the degree of odourisation depending on the gas supply conditions or the fluodynamics of the network. A project was launched aimed at testing an injection system in the field to optimise the odourisation process in LPG distribution networks. Another area is making buildings safe in case of seismic events. Italgas was the first company in Italy to install valves capable of detecting the stresses transmitted by tremors and automatically interrupting the flow of gas.