LERC Launches First Regulatory Database Management System in Liberia

By: Laymah Kollie

Monrovia -March 27,2024: The Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) has launched the Country’s first electricity Regulatory Database Management System. The Regulatory Data Base Management System will ensure reliability, accuracy, and integrity of the Commission’s work in the area of quality-of-service monitoring, data management and complaints management as part of the strategies to ensure that its regulatory objectives are met.

The system provides a custom web and mobile solution that will enable data collection by authorized entities such as staff, licenses, statutory bodies and other partners for storage and analysis to ensure efficient and effective business processes and regulatory decision making.

Giving overview of the occasion, Dr. Lawrence D. Sekajipo, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of LERC outlined the significance of the database to the workings of the electricity body.

“Today, the Commission has again achieved another important milestone in the implementation of the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia, evidenced by the development and deployment and official launch of its Regulatory Data Base Management System. This milestone has been achieved with the support of the African Development Bank and the Government of Liberia”
“To increase efficiency and effectiveness of service to its diversified stakeholders including utility providers and their customers, which involves many levels of communication, LERC sought support from the African Development Bank to digitize its procedures and processes through the establishment of a Regulatory Database Management System”.

He added, “As the Commission has embarked on the implementation of its Five-Year Strategic Plan (2023 – 2027), automating its internal processes using the Regulatory Data Base Management System enables the commission to improve operational efficiency, achieve higher productivity and reduce turnaround times in business processes to attain the targets set in the strategic Plan. The system, which contains web-based and mobile data collection capabilities such as data visualization, data collection tool and the generation of user-friendly ad hoc reports and insights is a significant boost to the energy sector of Liberia”

The Chairman then appreciated the African Development Bank for their efforts in the creation of LERC database management system. The Board Chair at the same time emphasized call for continuous support to the entity.

“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, management, and staff of LERC, I like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the African Development Bank for technical and financial support provided the Commission in the development of the Regulatory Data base Management System. As we roll out the system today, I am appealing to the Bank to continue its technical assistance and financial support to the Commission to undertake readiness assessment of our licensees (service providers)”

Serving as Keynote speaker and launcher of the database on behalf of Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung, Prince Menkalo Gbieu, Chief of Office Staff of the VP re-affirmed the Boakai- Koung administration support to addressing the electricity need of Liberia.

“While we have made some progress in providing electricity to our people, we still fall short of the 52% which is the World Bank minimum standard for a population access to electricity. The challenges we face in this sector are serious and real; we, as a government, are prepared to confront these challenges and bring relief to our People”

“As we officially launch the Regulatory Data Base Management System for the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission, it is important to note that the electricity sector of Liberia was characterized by monopoly of supply of enervation, transmission, and distribution services where government policymaking, regulatory and operational functions were not clearly defined. As a result, 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 stressed.

Highlighting major pillars of government’s agenda, Mr. Gbieu mentioned Capacity Building and Institutional strengthening as channels to to develop necessary infrastructure for effective and efficient government services deliveries. He added that the regulatory database is a classic example of the government desire strengthen capacities.

“One of the key implementation strategies of our Government’s ARREST development agenda is capacity building and institutional strengthening, which is the channel to develop the necessary infrastructure for effective and efficient government service deliveries. Therefore, this LERC Regulatory Data Base Management System, being launched today is a classic example of the Government of Liberia desire to build and strengthen the capacity of public institutions by deploying the necessary IT-based infrastructure to meet 21st century business processes and transactions”

Furthermore, Mr. Benedict S. Kanu , Country Manager, African Development Bank emphasized the importance of the database management system, while reaffirming his institution commitment to the process.

The initiative underscores the Bank’s efforts to support its Regional Member Countries to improve the quality and effectiveness of energy regulation using bespoke and one-stop-shop solutions to address identified regulatory bottlenecks and create an enabling environment that can attract private investment into the energy sector.
I am reliably informed that, in the last edition of the Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa (ERI) report of 2022, LERC was impressively ranked 10th among the over 40 regulators surveyed, and with the effective utilization of the system being launched today, I believe LERC will further improve in the next edition of the ERI”

Meanwhile, National and International partners appreciated LERC for the effort applied so far. They pledged their support to the the improvement of electricity in Liberia.

The Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (“the Commission) was created under the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia as an autonomous regulator of the electricity supply industry. The Commission oversees the provision of electricity services with clearly defined mandates relative to licensing operators, approving tariffs, establishing, and monitoring compliance with technical codes and commercial operations of the licensees, including resolving service-related disputes. The 2015 Electricity Law also specifies the roles of the other key sector agencies in the implementation of power sector reforms, including the liberalization of the sector to attract private investment to increase and eventually ensure universal access to electricity.

The Commission relies on data collected from licensed operators and the public in the discharge of its mandate. These include financial and accounting, technical, operational, and commercial data from utility service providers as well as handling consumer complaints and dispute settlements among consumers and utilities.

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