Embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been slammed by an independent auditing watchdog for skimping on its computer network, which still uses the Windows XP operating system.
Facing multi-billion dollar cleanup and compensation bills from the March 2011 nuclear crisis, Tepco figured it could save a few yen by delaying an upgrade.
But the independent watchdog — which usually on the lookout for wasteful spending — warned the nation’s biggest electric utility about its frugality, saying it must replace the outdated computer system because of security concerns.
Tepco — effectively nationalized through a government bailout after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 — was hoping to save ¥3.6 billion ($30 million) by continuing to run about 48,000 computers on Windows XP until 2018.
Microsoft stopped providing security updates and technical support for Windows XP last year, aggravating concerns about cybersecurity.
“The company decided, on its own initiative, to move up the deadline to update the software due to system security concerns,” a Tepco spokesman said Tuesday.
In a report last month, the Board of Audit warned the company not to be so stingy.
“Upgrading the operating system must be done as swiftly as possible, and the firm must not push it back, given the security risks,” the board said.