Concerns of manufacturers that Y2K computer failures will result in electricity cutoffs on Jan. 1 have eased following the latest report to the federal government by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). NERC, the Princeton, N.J.-based group that monitors electricity demand and reliability, indicates that the electric utility industry "has made substantial progress" in its Y2 readiness. According to the report, the industry has completed more than 75% of testing and remediation needed by the end of March -- up from 44% last November. Fewer than 3% of components tested have required Y2K fixes, and most of them have been "mostly cosmetic or nuisance-type errors," says the report. "In nearly all instances, Y2K does not affect functions that keep the lights on in homes or businesses." Comments NERC President Michehl Gent: "The process of Y2K assessment and remediation can be likened to a race. As we near the home stretch in this race to 2000, we believe that it is becoming increasingly clear that electric customers nationwide will come up winners."