Millennium Bug may hit utilities

Millennium Bug may hit utilities
Political correspondent The regulators of Britain’s four privatised public utilities have been criticised for not doing enough to ensure their industries are Millennium Bug compliant in time for 2000. They have also been accused of not knowing all they should about the work being done by the water, gas, electricity and telecoms industries. The National Audit Office has compiled a report on how the utilities are addressing the year 2000 problem and has warned that failure to tackle it in any one of the four industries could cause “serious economic damage” and “threaten loss of life”. It claims that all four use electronic systems that record dates throughout their activities so “the continued provision of essential services to the public depends on the utility companies taking effective action to rectify or replace systems affected by the year 2000 problem”. But the report warns “there are gaps in the regulators’ knowledge of what the companies are doing to address the millennium problem” especially in relation to contingency plans for failure. It also warned that some companies do not expect to be millennium compliant until well into 1999. The four regulators Offer, Ofgas, Oftel and Ofwat have been told to “monitor the companies’ progress closely throughout 1999 to ensure there is no slippage in the companies’ programmes”.


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