Local News

Local Companies: Y2K is not a Monster

Posted March 22, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— More than a dozen agencies and businesses that provide critical services to the town ofCarygathered Tuesday to hear concerns from the public. The meeting was designed to deal with uncertainties about how the Y2K bug will affect computers.

Residents wanted assurances that their water, electricity, hospital and other necessary services will be available after January 1 of next year.

Banks are a question for many. The FDIC says most all are ready now.

"Roughly 98 percent of the industry [is ready], and those numbers are pretty consistent in the southeast as it is for the nation," says Jim Watkins with the FDIC.

Will phones continue to work?BellSouthis spending $250 million to make sure they do.

"We do fully expect to be ready," says David Lane of BellSouth. "We have at any given time, on any given day, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 employees working on Y2K readiness."

WakeMedsays it is in good shape even when it comes to microchips embedded in medical equipment.

"Only about 3 percent of the devices are questionable," says Vince Steiniger with WakeMed. "That's really a low number when you look at 5,000 devices."

Even with the assurances, some worry about extreme reactions - common sense is the answer.

"It's not a monster," Steiniger said. "It's manageable. We will get through it and you can go to the hills, but you have to come back sometime."

All of the representatives at the meeting said their companies or services are ready or very close to being ready, but there still could be some minor problems. The best advice they offered was to prepare as if bad weather was coming.