Home Economy LERC Launches US$300,000 Regulatory Database Management System

LERC Launches US$300,000 Regulatory Database Management System

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) has launched a Regulatory Database Management System (RDMS) in an effort to improve the Commission’s operational efficiency and quality of regulatory decisions as indicated by the three key regulatory indexes, governance, substance, and outcomes.

The Regulatory Database Management System (RDMS) was officially launched on Thursday, March 27, 2024 at the E.J.S Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.

The Regulatory Database Management System (RDBMS) is a USD$300,000 project, funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), through its Special Initiative Budget.

The RDBMS is a system build to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the LERC service to its diversified stakeholders including utility providers and customers which involves many levels of the Communication.
Officially launching the RSBMS, the Chief of Staff to Vice President, Jeremiah Kpan Koung, Mr. Prince Menkalo Gbieu, delivering the keynote address, on behalf of VP Koung, said the launch of the RDBMS is in recognition of the fact that the improvement in the energy sector remains the easiest pathway to attract the necessary investments, expansion of the private sector and the attainment of economic growth and development.

Mr. Gbieu said, 10 years ago, Liberia provided electricity to only 13% of its population, a situation which suffocated the economy and affected the local businesses and industries.

However, 33% of households now have access to electricity and more is being done to increase the capacity.

According to him, Liberia has made some progress in providing electricity to the people. Nevertheless, he stressed that the country still falls short of the 52% which is the World Bank minimum standard for a population access to electricity.

He stressed that the challenges the energy sector faces is serious and real, as such, the government is determined to confront these challenges and bring relief to its people.

Mr. Gbieu highlighted that it is important to note that the electricity sector of Liberia was characterized by monopoly of supply generation, transmission, and distribution services where government policymaking, regulatory and operational functions were not clearly defined.

As a result, he added, the national utility, private operators and informal micro-utilities in Liberia were self-regulating with poor quality of service and high cost of electricity services.
He assured that the government will continue to work with the LERC and its development partners to invest in building the capacity of ministries, agencies and commissions responsible for planning resource mobilization, projects and program development and management.

Mr. Gbieu applauded the African Development Bank (AfDB) for supporting the LERC in achieving the major milestone in the history of the energy sector.

“It is our hope that the LERC will not only provide the Commission with the capability to digitally interface with its licensees or service providers and their consumers, but will also link Liberia’s national electricity regulatory regime with sub-region electricity market actors such as the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority and the West Africa Power Pool, as ECOWAS work towards a common electricity market for the sub-region.
For his part, AfDB Liberia Country Manager, Mr. Benedict S. Kanu, in a special statement said, the launch of the RDBMS will not only benefit the various stakeholders within the electricity value chain but also empower consumers across the nation.
Mr. Kanu appreciated the LERC for their innovative thinking in conceptualizing and realizing the important initiative. He stressed that such dedication and hard have truly made a major positive difference.

He told the gathering that such project could not have come at a more opportune moment especially considering the global shift towards smart technologies in the power sector.

He indicated that the world embraces these advancements for enhanced efficiency and process integrity along the power value chain which has become imperative for regulatory bodies to digitize their operations to stay ahead in this evolving landscape.

“The RSBMS that we are unveiling today is a USD$300,000 project, funded by the AfDB, through our special Initiative Budget. This system is designed to bolster LERC capabilities in monitoring, collecting, analyzing, and sharing regulatory data and information within the power sector in a more efficient and proactive manner.

He noted that by implementing the RDBMS, LERC will be equipped to handle consumer complaints and facilitate dispute resolutions between consumers and utility providers.

The AfDB Liberia Country Manager said the Bank has been at the forefront of mainstreaming electricity regulatory issues within the border power discourse of Africa and the RDBMS stems from the Bank’s flagship Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa (ERI) report which evaluates regulatory frameworks and the performance of regulatory bodies across Africa.

He pledged the Bank’s continue support to soft infrastructure initiatives such as the RDBMS to complement the hard infrastructure in the energy sector such as power plants and transmission lines towards the attainment of the universal access to electricity in Africa as envisaged under the Bank’s New Deal on energy for Africa (NDEA) and the SDG7.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Board of Commissioners of LERC, Dr. Lawrence D. Sekajipo, in a welcome remarks, and an overview of the RDBMS, disclosed that the LERC was created under the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia (ELL) as an autonomous regulator of the electricity supply industry.
Dr. Sekajipo said, the Commission oversees the provision of the electricity services with clearly defined mandates relative to licensing operators, improving tariff, establishing and monitoring compliance with technical code and commercial operations of licensees including resolving service-related disputes.

According to him, the 2015 Electricity Law also specified the role of other key sector agencies in the implementation of the sector as well as the mobilization of the sector to attract private sector investments to increase eventually and ensure universal access to electricity.
“Today, the Commission again has achieved another important milestone in the implementation of the 2017 ELL as evidenced by the development and deployment of the official launch of it RDBM.

This milestone has been achieved with the support of the African Development Bank and the Government of Liberia,” he disclosed.

The LERC Board Chairman highlighted that the Commission relies on data collected from licensed operators and the public in the discharge of its mandates which include financial and accounting, technical, operational, and commercial data from utility service providers as well as handling consumers’ complaints and dispute settlements among consumers and utilities.
Furthermore, he said, the RDBMS increases efficiency and effectiveness of service to diversified stakeholders including utility providers and their costumers which involve many levels of communication.

LERC sought support from the AfDB to digitize its procedures and processes through the establishment of a RDBMS.
He mentioned that the RDBMS ensures reliability, accuracy and integrity of the Commission’s work in the area of quality service, monitoring, data management and complaints management as part of services to ensure that its regulatory objectives are met.

‘The system provides a custom web and mobile solution that will enable data collection from authorized entities such as staff, licensees, statutory bodies and other partners for storage analysis to ensure efficient and effective businesses process and regulatory decisions making. As the commission embarks on the implementation of its five years strategic plan and automating its internal processes, using the RDBMS enables the commission to improve operational efficiency, achieve higher productivity and reduce turnaround times and business processes to maintain the target set in this strategic plan.

The system which contains web base and mobile data collection abilities such as data visualization, data collection of user friendly and urban report and insight is a significant boost to the energy sector of Liberia.

On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, Management and Staff of LERC, I extend our thanks and appreciation to the AfDB for the technical and financial support provided for the Commission in the development for the RDBMS.

AS We rollout the system today, I am appealing to the bank to continue its technical assistance and financial support to the Commission to undertake relevant assessment about licensee and service providers for their integration to the Commission for the RDBM for data exchange to facilitating and enhance performance monitoring and compliance in terms of conditions and their licenses,” he concluded.
The occasion was graced by Minister of Mines and Energy, Wilmot Paye, Chairman, House Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, European Union, World Bank, ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID), LIBENERGY, Jungle Energy Power (JEP), Totota Electric Cooperative (TEC), amongst others. Contributed by Linda Gbartie

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