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A shift to automated work processes

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MAY 2018 User Acceptance Test (UAT) of the eWISE – ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera (3rd from right) navigated through the ERC Web Portal for Interactive and Systematic Exchange (eWISE) the Process for Application of Certificate of Compliance during a User Acceptance Testing held at the ERC Media Room. Witnessing the UAT were ERC officials and staff along with SRA Information Technology personnel: (L-R) Ms. Jhasmin Canlas, Atty. Ruby Ann Ventura, Atty. Jose Romulo Castro, Commissioner Josefina Patricia Asirit, Mr. Jake Potter, Ms. Cecille Ebalo, Mr. Joefil Escay, Mr. Peter Greig, and Regulatory Operations Service Director Floresinda Digal. — www.erc.gov.ph

In a bid to improve regulatory efficiency and to better manage regulatory work, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is developing an online platform which will streamline the agency’s work processes. The breakthrough innovation, set to be formally launched this month, is expected to automate data validation, ensure Web portal security and achieve ERC’s zero backlog target.

The platform, called the ERC Web portal for Interactive and Systematic Exchange (eWISE), is an interactive portal between regulated entities and the ERC that seeks to manage submissions and track regular filings, requests for approvals and other requirements.

“The shift to the eWISE system serves as a catalyst as it introduces a new and better way of doing things in the ERC,” ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera was quoted as saying in a statement. “The eWISE is expected to achieve the envisioned zero backlog state of the ERC.”

The eWISE is designed by the SRA Information Technology, which is a recognized global provider of quality business software solutions and environmental data management systems.

The SRA said on its Web site that the eWISE project is the “first of its kind.” It will provide documented processes, procedures and administration guidelines for certificate of compliance, consumer complaints, capital expenditure approvals, performance-based regulation, power supply agreements, market monitoring, rules for setting electric cooperatives’ wheeling rates, unified reportorial reporting and show cause.

Also, it will embed all regulatory approval processes in the system with full documentation and recorded justification, improve quality and data governance to minimize data loss, and establish a single source of truth. 

“The system will be able to produce analytics on consumption and trends back to the point of generation, allowing the Philippines to plan future needs,” SRA CEO Steve Rowe said during a ceremony which included stakeholders from the World Bank, ERC and SRA late last year.

In preparation for the implementation of the new system, employees from the various ERC Services were engaged to act as change facilitators who will manage the transition stage.

“The Commission recognizes the need to equip the employees with the proper knowledge and skills to facilitate the transition stage and ensure the success of the ERC’s eWISE project,” Ms. Devanadera said.

Last April 19 and 20, change facilitators underwent a Change Management workshop, which aimed to prepare them for their roles and to craft a communication plan to address the issues related to the implementation of the system. In addition, the two-day workshop provided ample opportunity to raise awareness and understand change as a constant part of one’s personal and professional life. 

ERC’s plan to establish an automated work processes started in early 2014 when it tapped Castalia, an advisory firm specializing in governance and regulation of infrastructure services, to assess its existing work processes. Castalia proposed to modify and streamline the agency’s capital expenditure rules, power supply agreements and rules for setting electric cooperatives’ wheeling rates.

ERC then approved SRA’s proposed policy, infrastructure, and design for the eWISE system. The detailed design and implementation of the project started in February 2017 while the business requirements and design workshops were completed by August of the same year.