HC Deb 17 March 1998 vol 308 c600W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action she has taken or plans to take to ensure the millennium compliance of the computer systems involved in providing an uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas; if she has agreed or arranged for contingency plans; and if she will make a statement. [33315]

Mrs. Roche

DTI officials have discussed this issue with the electricity and gas industries and their trade associations. Both industries are aware of the potential difficulties arising from the millennium date change and companies have carried out, or are carrying out, full assessments of the potential impact of their computer and control systems. These assessments are continuing. Reports thus far suggest that the risk to the continuity of the electricity supplies is minimal.

Transco, operator of the major part of Great Britain's gas transportation system, is conducting a thorough action plan to ensure that any risk to its ability to operate safely its gas supply network is managed. Each component of the "gas chain" is responsible for its own programme but Transco is playing a pivotal role in encouragement of best practice in the rest of the industry. It is offering support to its partners in the gas chain and other utilities in meeting their own responsibilities through sharing of best practice. Along with DTI, the Office of Gas Supply is actively monitoring the work being carried out by the industry on this.

Notwithstanding the current risk assessments, individual companies will wish to review existing contingency plans with emergency authorities as appropriate to deal with any supply problems arising from the millennium date change.

This is a complex area of work and the providers of utility service are dependent one upon the other to ensure that continued operation occurs without difficulty.

Forward to