SAP payroll software woes plague electric utility for months

Confusion generated by Hurricane Sandy led to data-entry problems and incorrect pay for many National Grid workers

By , IDG News Service |  Software

But in a letter sent to National Grid executive director Thomas King in November, one union said the project's go-live date should have been delayed given the imminent arrival of Sandy. National Grid's actions represented a "gross error in judgment," International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 97 president Ted Skerpon said in the letter.

The utility's SAP project had entered a final three-week phase that began on Oct. 1, Stella said. While delaying the go-live was "certainly something that we discussed," the system had been well-tested and National Grid believed that going ahead was the right course, he added.

In addition, "All the crew movement and abnormal and atypical hours" caused by the storm resulted in a combination of data-entry and software-related problems that would have been far less dire had Sandy never hit, Stella said.

National Grid worked mainly with SAP on the project, according to Stella.

"SAP and our partners are all working closely to support National Grid," SAP spokesman Andy Kendzie said this week. "All of us involved have committed the leadership and resources to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. Together we believe we are making solid progress."

This isn't the first SAP payroll project to generate negative headlines. One in 2011 resulted in a number of nurses in Nova Scotia receiving erroneous paychecks for six months.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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