Factors affecting service quality of water utilities

FSR Water

The paper “Factors affecting service quality of water utilities” (Guerrini, A., Romano, G., Moggi, S., Leardini, C.) will be presented at the 5th Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructures (24 June 2016).


Water utilities operate in natural monopoly industry, since a multi-firm production is more expensive than a production made by a single firm. This condition requires a strict regulation in order to overcome the main limitations of monopoly, such as poor level of service, too high prices and low level of investments. The Italian water sector was recently been reformed, starting from 2012 with the institution of a national water authority with the task of tariff setting and control over the performance of utilities. In the last year was developed a new tariff method for 2012-2013, then renewed for the regulatory period 2014-2015 and for 2016-2019; in the last year was stated a regulatory framework for the quality of services, which is going to be in force from the current year. In the light of these reforms, the paper aims to measure an overall performance indicator (OPI) for all Italian water utilities entrusted for the management of water services, including drinkable water supply, wastewater collection, and treatment. The OPI was measured though Data Envelopment Analysis, combining cost items, production values and other indicators for quality of services. In a second stage step the determinants of OPI distributions was studied, observing the effect exerted by variables as ownership structure of water utilities, scale of operations, geographical localization, population density, and amount of realized investments.


Sara Moggi is a post Doc research fellow at the Business Administration Department of the University of Verona. Her main field of research is the social accounting in nonprofit organizations and the public sector. In particular, she is exploring the stakeholder’s effect on social and environmental reporting. She is author of numerous international publication on sustainability and community engagement.


Leardini_ChiaraChiara Leardini is a professor in business administration and her main expertize concerns two relevant themes: public and community engagement in organization paying attention on the role of the engagement of stakeholders in governance to educate the organization to map the needs of community and consider them in decision making process. The second main stream of research is on performance measurement in water utilities and in waste collection services, exploring the determinants of efficiency and the governance role for an economic and social sustainability.

Her works has been published in International Journal of Public Administration, Nonprofit and  Voluntary  Sector  Quarterly,  Accounting  History,  Water  Science  and  Technology, Water,  International  Journal  Learning  and  Intellectual  Capital.  Recently  she  published book  chapters  and  conference  proceedings  on  community  engagement  and  on sustainability in higher education and in small and medium size enterprises. Her research team won an award on theme of community engagement tools.


Presentation given by Sara Moggi and Chiara Leardini

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