IT cost blowout causes storm at Sydney Water

A multimillion-dollar cost blowout for a Customer Information and Billing System (CIBS) at Sydney Water could result in legal action against the vendor.

Commissioned in late 2000, the project is yet to be implemented and a board meeting held last week has led to a review of the contract, a Sydney Water spokesman said. However, he was unwilling to name the vendor involved for commercial reasons including possible legal action.

The customer information system was supposed to consolidate 21 stand-alone systems to enable better data management and improve customer service.

In a brief statement Sydney Water chairman Gabrielle Kibble said the board "expressed grave concerns with project costs, delays and the results of an independent report that suggested planned project outcomes would not meet Sydney Water's business requirements. As a result of this report and briefings from Sydney Water management, the board has resolved that the project should not continue in its current form."

Kibble said urgent discussions will commence with the contractor to ensure projects benefits realised to date are maximised and the current billing system is unaffected.

She said the two components of the CIBS project that have already been delivered are a customer database tool and an automated online system for processing land development applications.

Sydney Water was unwilling to provide further details including blowout figures but Computerworld understands it has escalated as high as $10 million.

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