Oracle forgives $6.9m in fees to Philadelphia

Contract for water utility project down the drain

Philadelphia officials have neutered an agreement to use software custom built by Oracle for the city's antiquated water utility billing system.

Most of the Oracle software will be scrapped and the company will play no part in the new system, according to Computerworld, which cited Terry Phillis, the city's CIO.

Phillis also said the city has signed an amended contract with Oracle that calls for the software maker to forgive $6.9m in fees for the project, which as of October, 2005, when the project was suspended, cost tax payers $18m, or twice what the city had expected. The cost since the project was restarted is now estimated to be about $25m, including the Oracle givebacks.

The city now plans to use off-the-shelf software developed by Prophecy International, an Oracle business partner in Australia. The package, known as Basis2, will run on top of an Oracle database and work with some of Oracle's back-office applications.

Stephen Holdridge, a vice president in Oracle's consulting unit, confirmed to Computerworld that the company had reached an agreement with the city to amended their earlier contract. The company declined to discuss the agreement further. Oracle admitted no wrongdoing, according to Phillis.

Project Ocean, as the Philadelphia initiative has come to be known, is designed to replace the city's 30-year-old system for billing water users. It uses a mainframe application that relies on punch cards. ®

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