Computer problem - water bills : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) As the end of the year looms, residents in one township are getting a sneak preview of the Y2K computer problem in the form of huge or nonexistent water bills.

Some customers of the East Taylor Township water authority near Johnstown have received their October bills, and the results are off by several thousand gallons.

Authorities in Cambria County blame a September computer malfunction similar to the Y2K glitch the township computer system was thwarted by the 9-9-99 date of Sept. 9, 1999.

For years, computer programmers used the code ''9999'' to indicate that a program had finished its operations and should shut down. The East Taylor Township water authority was in the midst of changing its computer system on that date, and billing that used the old system failed.

''Unfortunately, it happened to us,'' Ed Ocipa, the township's water authority chairman, said Friday.

Robert Rogers was billed $51 more than usual, since the authority's computer thought he used 9,000 extra gallons of water.

''It's just poor bookkeeping. I showed them in black and white, and they didn't say they were going to take care of it,'' said Rogers.

Ocipa said the authority has only received four complaints from its 1,100 customers. Of course, some of those who didn't complain got bills showing a zero amount due.

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-- Homer Beanfang (, November 29, 1999


Funny, I didn't hear about the 9999 problem in Johnstown until now.

I wonder how many others we didn't hear about ... and how many problems we won't hear about until after y2k.

-- I M (, November 29, 1999.

Just-a-bump-in-the-pothole of life folks......

Just a bump.


Wonder what the financial impact will be (on all businesses) when ONLY the customers who check, and who received super "over-bills" complain?

After all, what percent of those who get get billed for nothing will complain? How much will that cost? What percent of people who get only slightly overcharged will notice? What percent of people who get grossly overcharged will notice?

For example, I get automatic water bill payment - if I were not expecting problems, would I look very carefully at a water bill that went from 40.00 in September to 60.00 in January? To 80.00 in January?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (, November 29, 1999.

Mr. Cook,

Good reason not to have automatic water bill payment.

-- (, November 29, 1999.

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