Arthur Levitt, who heads the Securities & Exchange Commission, on December 8, 1997, sent out a letter to public utility holding companies, warning them of the consequences of not being 2000-compliant in 2000.
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Dear [Registered Holding Company Chief Executive Officer]:
As the twenty-first century approaches, public utility holding companies are faced with a number of technological challenges. Of immediate concern to the Securities and Exchange Commission are issues relating to "Year 2000" computer conversions. As you well know, unless modifications are made, at midnight on December 31, 1999, the vast majority of computer systems may not be able to distinguish the year 2000 from the year 1900. Obviously, this could have extremely serious consequences for utilities if computer systems that govern interactions with suppliers, customers, and creditors are impaired.
The Commission has been active in communicating with industry and the public concerning readiness for the Year 2000. While many companies have already begun to address this issue, I want to emphasize how important it is that utility holding companies implement plans and devote adequate resources to modify their information systems for Year 2000 readiness. I also want to reemphasize the importance of providing investors with meaningful disclosure concerning any material effects that Year 2000 problems may have on the company.
There are a myriad of considerations that accompany Year 2000 readiness; many that the Commission cannot appropriately address without adequate information and feedback from utility holding companies. Please make every effort, therefore, to keep us and your other regulators apprised of all issues pertinent to Year 2000 preparation that may affect investors and consumers. . . .