Sydney Water negotiates on billing system overruns

Sydney Water is continuing discussions with IBM's PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting subsidiary following its decision to shelve a $50 million Customer Information and Billing System (CIBS) contract that has been plagued by cost blowouts and implementation delays.

A Sydney Water spokesman said discussions with the consultancy, which is acting as manager of the project, are continuing on how to move forward with the project, which was commissioned in late 2000, to consolidate 21 stand-alone systems,.

He was unwilling to speculate on outcomes or when negotiations will be concluded following a CW report last week (October 28, 2002 p1) which indicated legal action could be taken against vendors involved in the project after Sydney Water chairman Gabrielle Kibble expressed "grave concerns" about cost-overruns, delays and outcomes.

The board has put the project on hold until further notice and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has released a statement confirming Sydney Water's local currency rating of AAA will not be affected by the project blowout.

"Standard & Poor's does not expect the billing and collection functions to be impeded by the decision to shelve the project," Kevin Lewis, associate director, Corporate & Infrastructure Finance Ratings, said.

Computerworld understands cost overruns are in the range of $10 million to $20 million.

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