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1998-04-23 19:48:51


Ontario Hydro: 40% Finished With Code Repair



Ontario Hydro is a Canadian power company. It has hired 500 programmers to get the system compliant. It is 40% finished. It has taken 36 months to get to this stage. And when it gets to 100%, they must test the system.

General estimates are that testing takes from 40% to 70% of a repair's resources, including time.

No one spoke the obvious: Ontario Hydro won't make it if it continues at its previous pace.

Another official warned of a possible national disaster far worse than Montreal's 1998 ice storm blackout.

This is from the OTTAWA CITIZEN (April 22).

* * * * * * *

Airlines, utilities and nuclear power regulators gave cold comfort yesterday to a Parliamentary committee demanding guarantees that Canadians will be spared major service disruptions during the early days of the new millennium.

In fact, the best the vice-president of Ontario Hydro's Year 2000 Project could offer the standing committee on industry was an admission that "we have a lot of work to do."

Ted Clark said only about 40 per cent of the utility's critical systems are Y2K compliant, with 618 days or about 20 months left to go before the turn of the century. He added that the utility is marshalling a small army of about 500 technicians to tackle the remaining 60 per cent.

"Everyone wishes they had started sooner," Mr. Clark told the committee, after conceding that it's taken Ontario Hydro some 36 months to get this far. . . .

And while Ontario Hydro is grilling its own suppliers to assess their preparedness, "in some cases," he said, "we've found compliance statements have not proved to be accurate."

He told the MPs that about half of the herculean task facing utilities and virtually every other sector of the economy involves testing and retesting computer fixes already carried out.

Similarly, the director of Canada's Atomic Energy Control Board, Kurt Asmis, said when it comes to software "the devil is in the details." . . .

"You'll have to excuse me if I worry," said industry committee member Eugene Bellemare.

"I still see a big shudder as hospitals, traffic lights, gas stations all don't work and it's 20 below. It would be a hell of a mess and you can't guarantee that won't happen." . . . .

Mr. Bellemare said he is gravely concerned by the lack of solid assurance from industries that provide key services to Canadians, saying that the impact of the millennium bug on utilities and energy providers could leave pockets of the country freezing in the dark.

He said fallout from what was once dismissed as an innocuous computer problem could make the ice storms that hammered eastern Ontario and Quebec last winter seem like a walk in the park.


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