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1998-05-07 07:35:16


Dallas in the Dark: Not Much Time Remaining



Texas Utilities supplies power for Dallas, described by one Dallas real estate salesman as "the lowest cost world class city." Well, that salesman better have a lot of flashlight batteries ready if Texas Utilities doesn't meet its deadline.

This public relations piece says the usual: "We're working on it." They have been working on it since 1996. Wow! Way back then! Of course, the problem has existed since the 1960's. But, no use rushing into things.

Will they get the system compliant by 2000? They say, "We are confident" that they will.

Will all of their software vendors get compliant software installed in all of TU's operations? They say they're monitoring this. That's good. It's nice to monitor things. No doubt there was someone monitoring the sinking of the Titanic. The question is: Is what is being monitored going to make the deadline?

The survival of Dallas depends on a positive answer. The "lowest cost world class city" will be just another Beirut (to quote mainframe programmer and TIME BOMB 2000 co-author Ed Yourdon with respect to several more expensive world class cities) if the power goes off and stays off.

* * * * * * * * *

TU has been addressing the problem since mid-1996. . . .

The required changes and replacement work on the majority of I/T application systems and infrastructure are expected to be completed by the end of 1998.

In late 1997, a corporate-wide project to address Year 2000 issues related to microprocessor systems such as process controls for energy production and delivery and client-developed applications was initiated. The project includes system inventory, assessment, corrective action and testing. Projects to address issues common throughout the company, such as telephone systems, are being managed centrally to avoid duplication of effort. Projects specific to individual business units or sites are being managed within those groups to achieve the best results. . . .

Could Y2K problems affect service?

TU is reviewing power plant controls and energy delivery system controls along with other company operations. While it is possible for microprocessor-based systems to have problems with the Y2K situation if not addressed before Year 2000, we are confident that this project will be completed well in advance of January 2000.

What is Year 2000 compliancy?

Year 2000 compliancy means that software can accurately and logically process date information beyond the year 2000. Processing includes date calculations, format conversion, validations, logical functions and the use of dates in sorting, sequencing, merging, retrieving, searching and indexing.

Is TU monitoring compliance efforts of key suppliers and service providers?

As part of its compliance program, TU is contacting suppliers and service providers to obtain their support and determine their progress on this difficult problem.

This is a massive undertaking that will require a huge amount of work to accomplish. But TU began work on this project early and is well positioned to meet the challenge. The company is working hard to make a smooth, trouble-free transition to the next millennium


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