Taipei, July 16 (CNA) More than 60 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Taiwan have yet to update their computer software to prevent occurrence of a potential glitch known as the "centenary bug," according to the results of a survey released Friday.
The "centenary bug" could crop up mainly because, on earlier computer software, the year on the Republic of China calendar is presented in two digits.
But only 35.7 percent of local SMEs have completed software updates to prevent the problem, said Wang Yi-chih, an analyst at the Market Intelligence Center (MIC) of the Institute Information Industry that conducted the survey.
Furthermore, 20.3 percent of the companies polled were not even aware of the potential problem, Wang said.
With less than six months to go before the ROC enters its 100th year, the "centenary bug" has already hit the state-owned Taiwan Power Co.'s (Taipower's) computer system.
As a result, astronomical electricity bills were sent to hundreds of Taipower customers earlier this month. In one case, a bill for NT$2,850 that was supposed to be dated the 7th month of the 99th year on the ROC calendar showed the date as the 90th month of the 9th year and the amount was NT$70,000,028.
Wang said the "centenary bug" is similar to the Y2K bug that created a scare at the start of the year of 2000.
Most government agencies and large private corporations fixed potential problems associated with the "centenary bug" years ago when they dealt with the Y2K bug, he said.
However, Wang said many small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are still exposed to the centenary problem because they tend to have limited budgets for upgrading their data processing systems.
Noting that the "centenary bug" is unique to Taiwan, Wang said the government should give more publicity to the issue to heighten awareness among SMEs and to encourage them to test and update their computer software programs as soon as possible.
(By Lin Hui-chun and Sofia Wu)