MONROVIA: As part of project activities for the setting up of a Regulatory Database Management System (RDBMS) for the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC), the Commission, with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), has embarked on a 10-day Structured Query Language (SQL), Database Management and Security workshop in Margibi County.
The training which is being facilitated by IRIDIS Solutions brings together participants from the Commission and licensed operators that include the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Jungle Energy Power (JEP) and Totota Electric Cooperative.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training on 4 December 2023, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Dr. Lawrence D. Sekajipo, thanked the AfDB for funding the setting up of the RDBMS and urged participants to take full advantage of the training opportunity.
Dr. Sekajipo asserted that the RDBMS, when setup, will digitize LERC’s internal processes which will enable the Commission to improve operational efficiency, achieve higher productivity, and reduce turnaround times in business processes.
He described RDBMS as “a significant milestone in the electricity industry that will assist in achieving the Government of Liberia electricity agenda to provide reliable access to 70% of the Liberian pollution by the year 2030”.
For his part, Mr. Solomon Sarpong, Senior Energy Economist/Policy Officer, at the AfDB and the Project Task Manager commended LERC for the speedy and efficient implementation of the project and said the Bank will continue to support such initiatives.
Mr. Sarpong, providing the context for the Bank’s support to the Commission said, the AfDB conceived the idea to support RDBMS following LERC’s performance in the Regulatory Index for Africa that accesses electricity frameworks in African countries to identify gaps and find solutions.
He said LERC has been a consistent participant even though it is a new regulator, and that the Bank is aware of all the regulatory instruments it is developing and takes note.
“The Bank found out that one of things to address these gaps is the digitalization initiative and LERC had rightly made the request to AfDB.
This is a one-stop gap solution to address LERC’s gaps identified which is to allow stakeholders participation and transparency in regulation. The Bank is pleased with the level of work that will make LERC move up the index”, he asserted.
Mr. Sarpong pinpointed that when the RDBMS project is completed, the Commission’s technical team will be able to sit in office and get real time information; and the next phase of the project will focus on stakeholders buy-in and real-time link-ins with operators.
The Bank, Mr. Sarpong revealed, will soon begin the implementation of the African Energy Sector Technical Assistance Program, and urged the Commission to take advantage.
Providing an overview of the workshop, Dr. Kofi Sarpong Adu-Manu, Lead Consultant and Program Director, Iridis Technologies said, his organization is pleased to be associated with this milestone project that the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission is undertaking.
Dr. Adu-Manu said the workshop will build the capacity of technical teams from LERC and licensed operators who will be using this system.
“We are going to provide hands-on training for the technical teams for the effective use of the system. The system largely depends on the database, its management and security. The system cannot be put in place without technical expertise,” he stressed.
He explained that as part of the Bank’s requirements, it is expected that IRIDIS Solutions provides effective training to ensure effective and efficient use of the RDBMS.
“IRIDIS Solution will provide some essentials so that the technical teams will be able to understand some of the core concepts relative to the database. Also, essential ways to curb attackers so when the system is deployed online to be ready for any eventuality because this is an electronic system, and it is posed to threats”.
So, when these threats happen, the technical team is already ahead of the threat. They will always be ahead of attackers. Our goal is to always have the system functional. How to optimize the operations of the system to ensure that everything is on point, Dr. Adu-Manu informed participants.
It can be recalled, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved US$255,000 to support the establishment of a Regulatory Database Management System (RDBMS) at the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC).
The RDBMS will automate key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor utilities’ performance on benchmarks such as financial performance, technical and commercial quality of service performance, and quality of service delivery and operational efficiency.
Additionally, the system will automate LERC’s regulatory processes to enable the Commission monitor compliance in an accurate and timely manner, regulate the operational and financial performance of the licensees and facilitate the provision of timely and reliable information and data on the electricity sector and regulated entities to consumers, stakeholders, and the public.