On a recent trip to Germany, I became very aware of the Millenium Bug problem. The reason for this was that my flight left in the early hours of 10 September, the day after the 9/9/99 rollover, and one that had been predicted to be a potential problem. Would software recognise 9/9/99 as the last day in the sequence, and reset to zero the next day?

The fact that I am writing this indicates that all was well, and the flight suffered no problems from computer software getting confused over the date. Indeed, there were, to the best of my knowledge, no problems reported worldwide during the 9999 rollover. The North American Electricity Reliability Council (NERC) monitored the US situation carefully and while no difficulties were experienced, said that it was nevertheless a useful exercise in preparing for the Millenium Bug itself.

NERC is confident that the electricity industry in North America is ready for Y2k. Indeed, Michehl Gent, President of NERC, said in August “If New Year’s Day 2000 was tomorrow, we believe the lights would remain on in North America.” But what about the rest of the world?

The UK’s Foreign Office has carried out a survey of the Y2k readiness for a number of countries, and has published its findings on the web (http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel/dynpage.asp?Page=144). Primarily intended as advice for travellers, it gives a brief summary of the status of Y2k readiness of power industries around the world. Ukraine is believed to be one potential problem area, as is Russia and Indonesia. Barbados, Canada and Taiwan, however, have the problems well in hand.

Another good source on Y2k readiness worldwide is the World Bank (http://www.worldbank.org/infodev/y2k/y2kcountrypages.htm) which has a list of the national websites, and links to each of these.