Automatic document classification via transformers for regulations compliance management in large utility companies

Tolga Dimlioglu, Jing Wang, Devansh Bisla, Anna Choromanska, Simon Odie, Leon Bukhman, Afolabi Olomola, James D. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The operation of large utility companies such as Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) typically rely on large quantities of regulation documents from external institutions which inform the company of upcoming or ongoing policy changes or new requirements the company might need to comply with if deemed applicable. As a concrete example, if a recent regulatory publication mentions that the timeframe for the Company to respond to a reported system emergency in its service territory changes from within X time to within Y time—then the affected operating groups will be notified, and internal Company operating procedures may need to be reviewed and updated accordingly to comply with the new regulatory requirement. Each such regulation document needs to be reviewed manually by an expert to determine if the document is relevant to the company and, if so, which department it is relevant to. In order to help enterprises improve the efficiency of their operation, we propose an automatic document classification pipeline that determines whether a document is important for the company or not, and if deemed important it forwards those documents to the departments within the company for further review. Binary classification task of determining the importance of a document is done via ensembling the Naive Bayes (NB), support vector machine (SVM), random forest (RF), and artificial neural network (ANN) together for the final prediction, whereas the multi-label classification problem of identifying the relevant departments for a document is executed by the transformer-based DocBERT model. We apply our pipeline to a large corpus of tens of thousands of text data provided by Con Edison and achieve an accuracy score over 80 % . Compared with existing solutions for document classification which rely on a single classifier, our paper i) ensemble multiple classifiers for better accuracy results and escaping from the problem of overfitting, ii) utilize pretrained transformer-based DocBERT model to achieve ideal performance for multi-label classification task and iii) introduce a bi-level structure to improve the performance of the whole pipeline where the binary classification module works as a rough filter before finally distributing the text to corresponding departments through the multi-label classification module.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17167-17185
Number of pages19
JournalNeural Computing and Applications
Issue number23
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • BERT
  • Document classification
  • Machine learning
  • Natural language processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence


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