The paper presents the results of a study conducted by ACEA, the Italian water and energy utility based in Rome, in collaboration with the ENGREF (Ecole Nationale du Génie Rural des Eaux et des Forêts) on the use of performance indicators in the improvement of customer management in three Latin America water utilities, subsidiaries of ACEA (Acea Dominicana, Aguas de San Pedro and Aguazul Bogotá).

The paper illustrates how contractual and internal performance indicators are being employed to encourage self-improvement and better efficiency. The analysis suggests that the use of performance indicators by private operators is greatly driven by the regulator actions to measure their performance. Moreover, the effective use of contractual indicators is greatly dependant on the availability of initial data.

The second part of the article presents a benchmark exercise carried out between the three companies. Performance indicators focusing on commercial departments activities were defined and measured. The comparison permits the identification of improvement margins and provides reference data.