The current USRDS system was developed over a period of years by the Utility Branch engineers and evolved into the formal system of record for tracking and reporting utility incidents, accidents, complaints and audit findings/recommendations/actions. Today, the system is still primarily supported by the Branch engineers. Some, but not all, of the USRDS Access databases underpinning these applications have been relocated to shared servers managed by the Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB), a move to help ensure that this critical CPUC safety data is routinely backed up.
As the utility databases have increased in size, users have experienced system performance issues impacting engineer productivity. As usage has increased and databases were split, database synchronization has produced data integrity issues requiring engineer’s time to fix. Lastly, engineers do not have the time and in some cases the expertise to resolve the technical system issues and develop the new functional and reporting enhancements being requested.
A study was conducted resulting in the USRDS System Assessment Report, the findings therein are summarized in the list below:
- Multiple user access/ updates to USRDS database applications results in data corruption.
- Remote access to USRDS applications is slow adversely impacting engineer’s productivity.
- General Public and Utility access to SED’s incident reporting applications is non-existent.
- General Public access to SED’s incident and citation data is non-existent.
- Complex, cross functional query functionality required for regulatory reporting does not exist.
- Database scalability is a risk factor given increasing DB size and increased user activity.
- Data security and backup
- Access database crashes (an indication of application instability) is affecting system availability and engineer’s productivity; also results in an increased frustration level among engineers.
- Access to non-local North-South database applications problematic due to communications and Db application performance issue
- Data Integrity Issues adversely affecting reporting accuracy and users’ level of confidence in system.
- Lack of controlled data/object repository: system objects are stored using various methods.
- Lack of consistent means to access the USRDS applications as DB applications are accessed in a variety of ways as setup by each engineer.
- Application support being performed by Branch engineers which is interfering with their primary job function.
- Lack of consistency in identifying a Utility in USRDS records impedes producing required safety trends reports for a total view of a given Utility.
- Recent audit findings and recommendations include other areas where the USRDS DB System needs to be improved.
ECI developed system that implemented numerous functionalities that resolved some core issues that included:
- Regulatory compliance and reporting,
- Enhance data integrity,
- Increase system stability,
- Improve system performance (generally and for specific operations) and
- Increase user confidence in the effectiveness of the USRDS DB Application to meet the Utility Branch needs.
- Stabilized daily operations of the USRDS database and application.
- Client CA Public Utilities Commission
- Project Type Application Development – USRDS