Posted: August 23rd, 2016 3:03pm +00:00

Risk and compliance management for public utilities

People across the country rely on utility companies every day – for services like clean water and power to heat and light their homes. The companies that provide these vital services are also faced with growing responsibilities in terms of risk and compliance.

In order to deal with these responsibilities effectively, utility companies need to have a thorough understanding of risk and compliance – this includes adhering to legal requirements and, in many cases, also conforming to the public’s expectations.

Regulatory bodies

Different utilities are governed by different regulatory bodies, and each regulator has its own specific set of requirements.

— Ofgem – Regulates the electricity and downstream natural gas sectors across the UK.
— Ofwat – Oversees the water and sewage industry in England and Wales.
— Ofcom – This is the regulation and competition authority for the UK’s broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries.

The individual nations also have their own regulatory bodies that oversee the industries with an aim to protect consumers and promote competition.

Risk

Utility companies face a variety of risks – ranging from those that could have a catastrophic impact on the wellbeing of the public and employees, through to compliance and financial risks.

While specific risks will vary depending on the company and its industry, key areas include:

— Business strategies – policies, margins and reserves, costs, budget management, reputation, reliability, customer focus
— People – board governance, ethics, health and safety, communication, workforce, training, relationships with vendors and other companies
— Business processes – non-payment, building management, billing controls, theft, extension practices and management
— External environment – laws and legislation, litigation, economy, climate change, security
— Analysis and reporting – media relations, territorial issues, performance analysis, governance, reputation
— Data and technology – technology failure, system investment, data protection, data integrity, obsolete technology, proprietary data processes

Compliance

Utility companies are compelled to effectively manage risk and they must demonstrate their actions to mitigate problems and comply with legal regulations.

Failure to comply can lead to a variety of outcomes. Employees or members of the public could suffer illness or injury, provision of services could be interrupted or the company could suffer financial difficulty.

In addition, the regulatory bodies may carry out investigations. Each regulator has defined powers when it comes to enforcement – in most cases, a utility company will be issued with a fine for non-compliance.

How JCAD CORE can help

JCAD CORE provides a flexible framework that can help utility companies effectively manage risk and ensure responsive management of compliance activities. It offers rich features and its customisable, off-the-shelf design means it can be implemented quickly without compromising on functionality.

The software is being successfully used across a range of utility companies in the water, energy and telecommunications sectors and it can easily be adapted to suit the needs of any organisation.

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