Ghana’s Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) is improving its regulatory function by improving its ability to collect, analyse and monitor information through smart data analytics.
PURC is upgrading its database system thanks to funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Trust Fund.
While overall electricity regulatory frameworks of African countries are poorly developed, for the most part, Uganda is top of the leaderboard on the AfDB’s annual Electricity Regulatory Index Report. The index measures the level of development of electricity sector regulatory frameworks in Africa against international standards and practices.
Ghana’s Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, explained smart data analytics could have a transformative effect on the Commission‘s work and it could create new opportunities for addressing challenges in the sector. “Our ability to process, analyse and be innovative with the data we generate is therefore critical and I am happy to note that capacity building is a key component of the investment we are launching today,” said Owusu-Ekuful.
The system includes features such as geotagging, which allows territorial trending and analysis of complaints from both utilities and consumers and facilitates the deployment of territory-specific and targeted solutions to address them. It also includes a mobile app for consumers to use for complaint management, tracking, as well as public education and awareness creation.
PURC Executive Secretary Mami Dufie Ofori said she was proud to note that the establishment of the new system was also in line with the overall digitisation agenda of their government. The agenda is aimed at boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of doing business in Ghana for accelerated socio-economic development.
Ghana is looking to smart data analytics beyond just the electricity sector
Lim Jung-taek, the South Korean Ambassador to Ghana, praised the initiative and indicated the project is a step for Korea to share its economic development experience with African countries. “The PURC has played a critical role in supporting Ghana’s electrification goals by providing clear monitoring. The database management system (DBSM) will further allow the PURC to function more effectively and strengthen energy regulation by eliminating manual data storage and processing system,” he added.
Also commending the initiative in remarks read on his behalf, Dr. Kevin Kariuki, AfDB vice president for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, underscored the Bank’s support to African member countries to improve the quality and effectiveness of energy regulation, as well as to create an enabling environment to foster increased private investment in the energy sector.
“Through its flagship Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa, the Bank has cumulatively assessed the regulatory frameworks of over 40 different African countries, identified regulatory bottlenecks and formulated bespoke solutions to address them. The execution of the DBMS initiative is, therefore, part of the Bank’s efforts to implement recommendations of the ERI in member countries,” said Kariuki.