London Electricity has found out the hard way that recently purchased software is not always Year 2000 compliant.
With less than six months to go until the millennium, it has had to restart a software implementation program.
Last year, London Electricity bought the inventory management module of JB Systems Mainsaver product, to integrate with its QSP financials software.
In the past three months, the utility found that elements of Mainsaver are not Year 2000 compliant and it is now looking for an alternative.
Despite claims made by Mainsaver UK distributor Merciavision that the product is fully Year 2000 compliant, a London Electricity representative said: "We have had problems with the inventory management module, not just Year 2000 compliancy, but also functionality."
However, the representative said the system is "not business critical".
Until this year, London Electricity ran the mainframe version of QSP's financials software, which had its own inventory management module. It signed an agreement last year with QSP to upgrade to the Unix based client/server version of the system, because the mainframe version was not Year 2000 compliant.
The inventory module for the Unix version is not due for release until June 2000, so QSP agreed to integrate the Mainsaver module in its place.
"We've had problems with both integrating the Mainsaver module and Year 2000 date handling around that integration," said David Pinches, group marketing director at QSP.
He said London Electricity even considered returning to the mainframe version of the inventory module, but that this was ruled out.
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