The key regulator of the power sector in India, CERC (the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission), is planning to set up an AI-based Regulatory Expert System Tool (REST) to stream the information access and to help the team in releasing them of their duties. According to the news, with this launch, the CERC will be the first such quasi-judicial regulatory body to embrace AI and machine learning for their operations.
This launch of AI-based regulatory expert system tools came when the Supreme Court closed down the commission for four months. The data stated that the commission’s website, therefore, has 1,000 pending cases pending with 173 cases, where the CERC has reserved the order, but not pronounced yet. Further, the website also displayed 450 fresh applications that are pending to be heard by CERC.
The CERC, in December 2020, requested a consultant from the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to develop an AI-based REST for the CERC. Thus, REST was created with the purpose of “building an institutional memory and for creation, reference, and intelligent retrieval of information/documents to assist the commission in the discharge of its functions under the Electricity Act, 2003,” stated by CERC.
Traditionally, the organisation has been working with SAUDAMINI (System for Adjudication Using Digital Access & Management of Information), a management information system for sourcing data. However, the officials believed that an AI-based intelligent system was critical for managing the increasing workload and bridging the lag that has been created with pending cases.
The request stated that the number of petitions filed before the CERC had massively surged over the years, and, therefore, it was imperative to monitor and analyse such orders. Besides, the commission also receives information from the regulated entities, stakeholders and nodal bodies, that are important from a regulatory perspective. Such information contains voluminous and complex inter-related data that can only be handled by AI-based REST.
Along with REST, the CERC will also receive an AI-based search and recommendation system, automated system creation and extraction of legal documents, and process automation data visualisation tools. According to CERC, the new system will later be merged with the existing management information system.
Currently, the Supreme Court (SC) of the country is the one judicial organisation with an electronic filing (e-filing) system, that has taken centre stage due to Covid-induced lockdown. Similar guidelines have been issued for high courts and district courts, where an AI-based portal will efficiently reduce their paperwork.
While the CERC commission is yet to receive bids, the deadline for building and deploying this new back-end system is six months from the date of selection of the consultant.