The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Wednesday, October 6, 1999
Georgia's Y2K Task Force: Some agencies still not ready

The Georgia Citizens Y2K Task Force told Governor Roy Barnes that Georgians should have little or no worries about possible year-end computer failures impacting their essential services.

In its second of three reports reflecting the readiness of nearly 8,000 entities from 31 industry sectors providing essential services to Georgians, the 25-person Task Force, appointed by the Governor in January, found:

” Ninety percent of Georgia's essential service providers have responded to the survey. Of the surveys received, 63 percent were scored green and 29 percent yellow, leaving only 8 percent in the red category.

” While there are still areas of concern, the overall assessment of Georgia's essential services is that a majority of providers are ready for the rollover into the year 2000. Georgia should experience few disruptions of essential services due to year 2000 problems.

” The Citizen's Task Force is still concerned about the 10 percent of survey recipients who haven't responded and the 8 percent that scored red. (Processes are being put in place for the next and final round of surveys to address these entities.) Survey respondents got a red or Not Ready/Questionable score if the Testing and/or Certification question of the survey showed a projected completion date beyond September 30, 1999. Thus, a red score for many respondents means that the respondent does not expect to complete testing and certification until sometime in the fourth quarter 1999. If the respondent reported that it has a completed contingency plan to address potential failures in critical systems that will not be tested and/or certified before September 30, 1999, it was were scored yellow.

Public Service Commission ” The Public Service Commission surveys cover the providers of electricity, natural gas, and local and long distance telephone services. The response rate for these providers increased dramatically in round two. The overall response rate is 90 percent, and 93 percent of those entities scored green or yellow. The number that are red or non-responsive is small, and all but three, two municipal electric services and one municipal gas service, are Competitive Local Exchange providers or Inter Exchange Carriers with very small customer bases.

Department of Human Resources ” Hospitals that scored either green or yellow represent approximately 80 - 85 percent of all licensed beds in the state and 86 percent of the facilities. The number of green hospitals went from 6 to 33, and the number of red hospitals dropped from 51 to 26. Most hospitals report that they expect to complete their preparations in October, and all expect to be ready before the end of the year.

” Most of the 26 hospitals currently scoring red are located in counties that have other hospitals that did not score red. Should the need arise, back-up coverage is available in the same county. There does not appear to be any concentrated area of the state without hospitals that scored green or yellow.

” The most disturbing results in the healthcare industry are from the End Stage Renal Disease Centers. Although these dialysis centers were not included in Senate Bill 230, they were surveyed and asked to respond because of the critical service they provide - blood filtering and cleaning three times a week for patients whose kidneys have failed. Eighty-one percent of the 161 centers in Georgia have not responded to the survey. While dialysis machines would not be affected, computer failures could impact other company operations.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency ” The Georgia Emergency Management Agency's surveys cover fire, police, and sheriff's departments and 911 services. GEMA's efforts have resulted in a significant rise in both the response rate and scores for these sectors. Ninety-five percent of the surveys are in, and 94 percent of them scored green or yellow. Only 6 percent of the GEMA surveys that were returned received red scores.

Department of Natural Resources ” The Department of Natural Resources surveys cover the utilities that supply drinking water, the operators of wastewater treatment facilities, facilities that hold permits for air pollution equipment, entities licensed to transport, store, or dispose of hazardous and toxic waste and entities licensed to handle radioactive materials. DNR again had the highest response rate: 97 percent of its surveys were returned, and 90 percent of them scored green.

A.W. “Bill” Dahlberg, president of The Southern Company and Task Force Chairman, said the public should recognize that surveys are self-reported and are not audited or verified by the scoring agency. He noted the validity of the Task Force's conclusions is heavily dependent upon the accuracy of the information provided.

“The next three months will concentrate on the relatively few reds to ensure that their small communities will have back-up services,” Dahlberg said. “Procedures to sanction non-reporting entities have been launched.”

The full report, survey responses, scores and summary reports will be available to the public from the GeorgiaNet site on the Internet. The web site address to access this information is Several changes have been made to this web site since round one to make it easier for Georgia citizens to access, on a county by county basis, information about their essential service providers. Within counties they can query down to the individual provider level and view the actual survey responses. A list of non-responding entities is posted on the web site.

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