PURC integrates database with unility companies
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has integrated its database with utility companies to enhance service delivery.
It was made possible through an integrated digital platform dubbed “Database Management System (DBMS) Phase Two.
It will offer visualisation for real-time information and data exchanges between PURC, utilities, consumers and other sector stakeholders.
The DBMS which is the first of its kind in Africa also seeks to create a new regime to provide open access to regulatory information through a single digitalised platform.
The $590,000 project was developed by a local information technology firm, Indisys Global Ltd, and funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Korean-African Corporation Trust Fund.
The Executive Secretary of PURC, Dr Ishmael Ackah, said at the launch in Accra yesterday that the DBMS was an important step towards enhancing transparency and inclusiveness in regulatory systems and solutions to a significant number of regulatory bottlenecks.
“The Phase one of the DBMS was introduced for internal use of the PURC to promote efficiency, cut down printing, effectively manage our complaint system and to build a good record,” he said.
Dr Ackah said the deployment of the DBMS in June 2021 was a trail-blazing initiative that had generated interest from the regulatory community across Africa.
He said since its introduction, the DBMS had enhanced the commission’s regulatory functions of some 8,950 customers.
Dr Ackah said over the years, the commission had relied solely on data submitted by utility providers without any system of independently verifying and validating which raised issues of consistencies, misinformation and transparency, thus, affecting its ability to make regulatory decisions.
“Implementation of the second phase of the DBMS is an opportunity for PURC to overcome these challenges through automated and consistent gathering of data via digital system and platform of utility service providers,” he added.
The Country Manager of African Development Bank Group, Fasika Eyerusalem, said the initiative was aimed at integrating a digital platform of regulators and utility service providers across the electricity value chain, including generation, transmission and distribution of real time information and data exchanges with concise visualisation.
She said this was the second phase of the digitalisation process which was aimed at closing the digital loop of regulators and utilities in the country.
“Indeed, this project could not have come at a better time than now as the world moves into smart technologies and systems across the electricity value chain for efficiency and integrity of processes,” she added.
The Board Chairman of PURC, Ebo Quagraine, said it was important for regulators to embrace innovation to develop workable and effective systems that would enable utilities to recover their costs of providing reliable services at rates that were just and reasonable.
That, he said, was significant, given that most utility service providers were still state owned and, therefore, struggled with financial viability and liquidity.
“Notwithstanding the success and the significant impact of the already deployed DBMS for PURC, there remains a key and final step to complete the loop,” Mr Quagraine added.
Story by Fada Amakye from Daily Sun Media