ERC prepares for IT-enabled process

by Myrna Velasco – January 3, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

A computer data program and platform will soon be the “biggest ally” of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in carrying out its function as the agency is now firming up migration plans into information technology-enabled regulatory processes.

ERC chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar told reporters that planning on turning their regulatory processes into an IT-underpinned system will be stepped up within the month.

With the aid of the World Bank, he stressed that the completion of the study on its IT migration can be completed in four months. Work will start last week of January.

“Part of the study is to estimate how much the cost (of this IT-enabled migration) will be,” Salazar said. The consultant for the project will further determine how long the entire implementation time frame would take and will also assess how the ERC system’s interface with the IT capability of the stakeholders can be achieved.

“We don’t really have to spend so much on the hardware – what we will be procuring here will be the software infrastructure – and that’s where the World Bank can help us,” he said.

Salazar has indicated that “cloud computing” is one of the options being initially looked at. Nevertheless, he noted that it would not be the only track they are considering.

“That is one of the options but we might not even use the cloud technology … I think that’s one of the things that the Consultant we’re getting will be advising us on – what technology we should be using,” he stressed.

As fears have been raised on the possibility of hacking that might be hurled against ERC’s IT-backed process, Salazar has emphasized that redundancy in the system will be instituted.

“The system will have redundancy … it will have three layers based on the study that I have read, so if you have one hacked, you can still have the other two working… you should have at least three based on international standard,” he explained.

Beyond the assistance extended by the World Bank primarily on the IT component of the system migration, the ERC chief has emphasized that they would be tapping consultants to advise them on regulation of IT-enabled processes.

“The consultant is one component of the whole process; World Bank will be providing an IT expert; Castalia as a regulation expert will be advising us and we’ll have another one regulation expert from Australia,” Salazar said.