greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I saw the following post on another forum....thought you all might want to see it too.

Subject: Re: Reply from VT State utilities From: "Choquette" Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 11:04:06 -0400

Robert and list;

I just got off the phone with the state dept of utilities and it was very bad news.

After trying to get a solid answer from our electric company with no success. they referred me to the state office, the head man in charge. He told me outright that the problem was huge and they just looked into it this month. He told me to go get a generator and that there was no promise for power for anyone. When I asked him when he was going to let the public know, he said he wasn't because there was no promises to anyone about anything. (But go get a generator) Then he asked how much a generator would cost us and when we told him, he said that he was sorry, but if we wanted to have power we had better make plans. He went on to tell me how they were looking at what happened in Canada during the ice storm when people had no power and they lost there farms and animals. So they could have a disaster plan in force. It was a very terrible conversation, and it was so hard to believe that they planned on keeping this hush hush. I told him what I thought and how many innocent people and farmers that had their lives on the line. He didn't know what to say, just to tell me to go get ready. And call him back in Oct for a progress report. Diane >

-- Sheila Ross (sross@bconnex.net), July 29, 1998



Can you please let us know what forum this came from?


-- Anonymous (anon@anon.com), July 29, 1998.

Hi Annonymous!

I guess I shouldn't have called it a "forum", cause its actually an email Y2K discussion group. At any rate, you can find it at:


The particular post I posted here was in Y2K Digest #160, July 29/99. I don't know if you can request just that one, or if you have to subscribe to the email list, or if they have an archive to peruse. If you wanted some more info directly from the source, I believe "Diane's" email addy is at the top of the post. I can't imagine that she would mind an email about it.....although I don't know her, so I guess I shouldn't say that!

In response to another question I recieved about this....I am assuming that it is Vermont State that it refers to, but again, I don't "know". I only read this and passed it on....


-- Sheila Ross (sross@bconnex.net), July 29, 1998.

If this is true, this is a clear cut description of utilities, insurance companies, water and sewage treatment plants passing the buck, and not taking full responsibility for the potential disaster headed our way. But isn't it true, that we should be prepared for anything regardless of Y2K? I feel sorry for the elderly and children who depend on adults to take care of them. The death rate, if there is no electricity, will be in the millions. And no one will take responsibility for it because it was beyond their control. Bardou

-- Playedbythegame (refusetogive@baloney.com), July 29, 1998.

I agree with the above. Failing to warn people of potentially life-threatening conditions by a utility that operates essentially in a public and "trusted" role should be considered criminal behavior - nothing less.

-- Chana Campos (chana@campos.org), July 29, 1998.

I agree too but I think that if I found out some terrible secret about my company I probably wouldn't be shouting it from the rooftops. "Let the Buyer Beware".

-- Amy Leone (aleone@amp.com), July 30, 1998.

I also agree and I think this person will have much to answer for (excuse me).

I would like to call my local Electric Company but I hesitate because I don't know whom to ask for. How do you get past the operators and talk with someone who would really know AND would let you in on the secret. (A while back I believe "John Smith" posted something about questions to be asked but I have no idea where it is. Where is John Smith when you need him.)

I am also concerned about buying the right generator. I have NO idea what size to by and whether to buy Gas or Diesel. How do you make such a decision. I have broched the subject several times with my husband but he hasn't gotten behind the ball yet.

... sigh ... just thinking about this kinda brings me down - would I be copping out to say... opps I almost brought up the forbidden subject... d

-- Dianne Smith (benedict@theriver.com), August 01, 1998.

Diane, our utility company has a cute little brochure they send out every month. Buried in the back is a phone number to call if you have any questions about y2k. They make comments about y2k each month. Guess what? They are working on it! :) Call them and play dumb. If you act ignorant their mouths really start to motor about Y2K. If you act like a smart ass know it all, they clam up! Go ahead, do it! It's fun. You know the old saying, you attract more bees with honey, than vinegar!! This also works with insurance companies, banks, phone companies..etc. Be real real dumb and polite.

-- Dave (dave22@concentric.net), August 01, 1998.

If the situation is as bad as the "head man in charge" is saying and they are going to keep it hush-hush, why is he being so open to this person on the phone, who was obviously refered by someone else to his office?

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), August 01, 1998.

Uncle Deedah, the woman at the electric company that I spoke with was very open about the Y2K problem. She said it could shut down everything. Alls ya gots to do is call em!

-- Dave (dave22@concentric.net), August 01, 1998.

My local utility has a remediation manager. When I spoke to him, he was rather open. He relayed a couple of salient issues which would put his utility at risk, even if they were compliant, which they are not, and probably won't be.

1. The grid 2. Upline power suppliers--not compliant and not talking

He also mentioned that recently attended y2k industry meetings revealed problems in the water utilities-even if they had electricity, they are terribly concerned about their ability to deliver.

-- Bingoti (bingot@yahoo.com), August 02, 1998.


I'm not questioning the truthfullness nor seriousness of the situation, by any means. IMHO this will be ugly.

That said, my B.S. meter went off, either it is "hush-hush" or it is not.

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), August 02, 1998.

Diane, You've got to jump in with both feet. Two months ago, I didn't know what a generator looked like! I asked around, found out the difference in brands, and bought a used Honda generator from an acquaintance. He looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "What do you want this for?" When I began talking about Y2K he said, "Oh,yeah, I heard something about that. Do you think it's really going to be bad?" My only advice was to give him Gary North's website to investigate for himself. (I purchased the generator WITHOUT HELP FROM MY HUSBAND.) Take responsibility. If we all sit around waiting for someone else to do it, it may be too late.

-- Kathy Love (mick@prysm.net), August 05, 1998.


If you are going to get a generator for any kind of real world use, you must use it to charge a battery bank and run off of the batteries most of the time. Otherwise, the generator runs VERY inefficiently and you run out of fuel in no time.

Go around your house and measure the current (amps) that your stuff uses and guesstimate the amount of time that thing is used. This gives you amps times hours or amphours of electricity. This is how battery storage is rated.

Then you put a device called an inverter into the system between the batteries and the circuits to be powered. This converts the dc battery electricity to ac. There are a few more bells and whistles, but that is the gist of it. It seems overwhelming at first, but with a little study, the basic theory isn't all that complicated. You will need someone with gobs of practical knowledge to help you install, of course.

Get this catalog, it was very helpful to me.


The generator size becomes much less an issue with a good battery bank. Diesel is better than gas because the fuel is more stable and the generator will LAST LONGER. The cheap gas ones run at 3600 RPM and wear out quickly if used a lot. ( With batteries, again, the gen. doesn't get as much work.)

You can also hook a solar panel or two to the system to fill the batteries that way.

The largest energy hogs in your house are the refrigerator and electric air conditioning and stoves. Find alternatives.

I recently purchased to rotary inverters really, really cheaply. They aren't as efficient as the state of the art stuff, and don't do anything but invert, but I will keep you posted once I can hook them up and test them.

Don't loose sight of the fact that location is more important than electricity. If you can't see the stars at night because of the lights, MOVE.

This is more important than anything else. Last week the publisher of CIO magazine testified to Bennett's committee. I watched live. He quoted a survey that showed 40% of the people have not even HEARD about this. The cities will be the places of greatest turmoil and suffering and death, PERIOD.

If you take this seriously, make arrangements NOW to be somewhere else.

-- Will Huett (willhuett@usa.net), August 05, 1998.

Will, Where is a good place to purchase the batteries and inverter? I was thinking about just getting a Coleman Powermate generator from KMART - will that one not last? I only wanted it for a backup for emergencies, but then thought that maybe I could run a small microwave oven off of it occasionally...Will that work? I plan to use candles and lanterns for light, have no refrigeration, and a woodstove and solar cooker for cooking if there is no natural gas. BUT for some items, a microwave would be very quick and handy, especially in the summer. Tell me what you think. Will this work?

-- Kay P (Y2kay@usa.net), August 05, 1998.

Kay, here's some information.

First, I suggest you order the book, "More Power to You" written by Skip Thomsen. He went 'off-grid' using a generator years ago. Comes complete with all needed wiring diagrams, tips, a lot of good stuff. Cost is $9.95. plus $3 shipping. I got mine from China Diesel Imports 15749 Lyons Valley Road, Jamul, CA 91935 619-669-1995

Batteries-- Deep discharge (not car batteries), because you need to discharge them in order to get power. Recommend Trojan (Manufacturer), either their L105 golf cart battery or their L-16 Home Power battery.

L-16: $189, 360 amp-hour, 6 volt, 10-15 year life expectancy L105: $77, 220 amp hour, 6 volt, 4-5 year life expectancy

Suggest you call Trojan, at 562-946-8381 and ask for a local distributor or dealer (you don't want to pay freight on several hundred pounds of batteries). Then get an up to date quote from teh dealer.

For inverters, you might want to consider the following:

Trace DR1512, or 2412 models (or even the 2424 if you want to series batteries 4 high) These are 1.5 or 2.4 kW. Either would drive a microwave oven plus a few extras. Most microwaves will use from 700 to 1000 watts: using a 1 kw microwave for 1 hour uses up 1000 watt hours, or about 80 amp hours at 12 volts.......1000 watts/12 volts = about 80.......or 40 amp hours at 24 volts.

These inverters also act as battery chargers when the generator goes on. Nice, they do all the switching for you.

Sources are:


>>>>>>Roy@4Winds, much help on the North Home Power Generation forum, is very Y2K savy, and will help all he can. Maybe a little higher than the others, but advice is worth it.<<<<<<<

http://www.windsun.com/site_index.htm http://www.jademountain.com/ http://www.mrsolar.com/

Good luck,


-- Rocky Knolls (rknolls@hotmail.com), August 05, 1998.


Rocky's suggestions are very practical. A system along these lines will be far better that firing up the little gennie to nuke your lunch. The weakest link in any generator/inverter system is the batteries. Good ones are expensive and most people cut costs here. The ones Rocky suggested are IMO the lowest acceptable ones. One problem is most people under size their battery bank and so discharge their systems deeply each time. This radically shortens battery life. From my experience with golf carts, I don't believe Trojan's life span claims.

Remember, every time you start the generator, you make oodles of little free electrons that just spill out into quantum-land unless you catch them in a container (battery). This is VERY poor use of your limited fuel.

When making my own preparations, I asked myself what I would not want to do without FOREVER. For me, the answer was fresh water and refrigeration. I don't know your logistics, but it sounds as though your preparations are geared for very short term. What if you are wrong?

Power preparation is an area limited only by your convictions and your pocketbook, and again, less important than where you are and what you have to eat and drink. Rocky's guidelines are a fine place to start and will provide you with a much better alternative to the grid than your plan.

Good Luck,


-- Will Huett (willhuett@usa.net), August 07, 1998.

One more thing to keep in mind, electric motors require four times as much electric power to start as is required to run. A 400 watt motor needs about 1600 watts to start. Not providing enough power to start the motor will lead to motor burn-out, and possible generator damage.

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), August 07, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ