Anyone in Southeast Wisconsin? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I live in the Milwaukee area. I would love to hear from anyone else in the area. I would like to give presentations to groups of people but don't want to necessarily "go it alone". If you're not willing or able to do this, I am also hoping to start a Cassandra Project chapter locally. If you're not willing or able to do this, perhaps we can just share horror stories. I truly feel like I'm the only one here in Badgerland who seems to "get it".

-- Steve Hartsman (, September 18, 1998



I live in WI, but am probably at least 100 mi. from you. I have not been "Y2K active" on the web until the last few weeks. I have heard from a couple of people in WI, both in your area. I know one of them is into preparedness, so I will send him a copy of this message, and maybe you'll hear from him. I also have a message I received from the other person. It seems pretty generic, so I see no harm in posting it here. This might be of interest to all:


Mike, as Y2k a project coordinator, I regularly check the net for any new developments. Since you are also living in wisconsin, I figured I should drop you a line.

First, if you find a counter balanced pellet stove (i.e. mechanical auger feed that is driven by weights instead of electricity) please let me know. So far, the only ones I've seen , have been electric driven.

For my part, will do major cleanup on the basement and be prepared to live down there. Even w/o heat by confining space - i.e. creating room(s) with blankets, plastic, or whatever should be tollerable. However, would prefer some heat. Here's what I've come up with

I have oil heat and have found many makes and models of gravity fed oil heaters are available. Typical consumption on low settings seem to be under .5 gal/hr. I would have to disconnect the funace flue and redirect it to the heater, a minor nuisance but definitely doable. My first choice, if I can swing it will be a photovoltaic array with sufficient capacity to power furnace, well pump, and 4 compact florescents (and possibly fridge depending on added cost.) Even though payback is to slow to justify, it would cover me for 2000 and reduce electric bill for years in future... Could shut off heat to house and just heat basement

If you are planning anything like this remember that you will need to have your water pipes configured so you can shut off supply to the unheated house and drain them. Plus you will need to drain toilet tanks and probably add RV style antifreeze to all your unheated drain traps - I wouldn't want to risk freeze expansion cracks... For your information here is a copy of some info I provided to my managers:

This morning I attended our state wide Y2K User Group meeting. The programs featured speakers from the local utilities

My impression was that all have made substantive Y2K efforts and the statements of full confidence that they will be ready reflect their commitment and ability to complete necessary tasks.

The electric utility seemed to be most "self sufficient" and most critical. Besides owning their coal trains, they currently maintain a 90-100 supply of coal. They have a compliant microwave communication system that will function even if the telephone company is down and this communication system will allow manual operations if needed.

The phone company, however does not expect to be down. They have set up a test lab and have already tested their network. Inter-operability testing to other carriers is scheduled for 1st quarter 1999. Failures in the electric industry could adversely affect the both telephone and gas services. Accordingly, our phone company is working with its fuel suppliers to insure that they have priority for delivery - they realize they have a limited fuel supply for their generators and don't want to get caught short.. The gas utility is addressing its Y2K issues but it is somewhat at the mercy of vendors and utilities in other states. Gas pumped from well heads in the gulf is forced through the pipe lines under pressures at up to 500 lbs/sq/inch - the high pressurization is accomplished by compressors located along the pipeline route. Though they have 11 gas suppliers, there are only four major pipelines supplying the gas. Presuming gas pressure, they can manually operate their di! stribution network using their own compliant radio communication system.

When all is said and done, they are all working on it and anticipate being ready.

The session was worthwhile - more details can be found in the following is a summary: (It has been "sanitized" because I didn't want to risk the utilities being bombarded by requests for confirmation of the information which was presented to our professional group - and I've sent out to various contacts who have shared with contacts. etc.)

Electric Utility Presentation -

Our electric utility claims to be in pretty good shape. They have executive sponsorship (an Exec V.P. is in charge of the effort). In addition an aggressive employee awareness program has helped obtain input into the (assessment) process. They have triaged their issues as Class 1-5 -> 1 being vital and 5 being deferrable. The plan is to have all items in Class 1 and 2 completed and as much of Class 3 (significant, impairs operations or maintenance support) as time permits. They fully expect that items Class 4 (Worthy of Action - troublesome or economic) and 5 (Action Deferrable - inconvenient) may not be accomplished.

Identified issues are not limited to Information Technology. In addition to 1200 applications, they have inventoried 14,000 vehicles as part of their infrastructure, 7,000 suppliers and 30 process control areas. None of this seemed to surprise the audience of Y2Kers but it was stunned when we were told that most of 70,000 meters needed upgrades. (25,000 completed to date) By using their classification system, they are concentrating their efforts on action to insure continued service. This approach recognizes limitations of time, money, resources.

They are confident they will be able to deliver power.

During the Question and Answers the level of confidence was addressed. A hospital representative, indicated they were considering adding added fuel storage capacity for their backup generators. His question, should we abandon that plan was met with the response that it would probably be prudent to add the capacity. The electric company is confident but cannot make promises.

Greatest at risk? - small utilities are in the worst shape but they have a work around - set the clock back to Jan 1' 1972. That should keep them running and costs nothing.

SCADA status? - The electric company has compliant SCADA upgrades in hand they will be applied during routine maintenance starting next month with the last in Dec 1999.

Contingency planning? - Just entering that phase. Nothing firm at this point. Utilities are cooperating. One thought is to have all generators spinning (it can take 1-5 days to bring up to speed) so all are ready to go. This means they would have almost as much spare capacity as normal requirements for that time of year. If half of their production went down, it still wouldn't be a problem. A independent and compliant microwave communication system will allow communications regardless of the public phone systems' status.

Nuclear Problems? - Actual simpler than fossil plants. Will be compliant by Feb. Only reason to take off line would be Federal order.

Biggest surprise? - Have 12 large bulldozers. The manufacturer of 4 of the diesel engines contacted them and informed them there was Y2K issues with the oil pressure monitoring assembly. They had date issue (don't ask me why, the audience was too shocked ask.) Cost $2,400 EA..

Supply Chain issues? Working with suppliers. Will inventory critical parts as necessary. They actually owns its coal trains - however that presumes railroad and mines are working. They are working with railroads and mines to assure supplies. However current reserve level is 90-100 days (which would get us through worst of winter) they are considering increasing. Storage is the issue.

Gas Utility Presentation:

The project is under the sponsorship of executive management. They are confident that if they have pressure (i.e. gas being delivered to them) they will be able to deliver. Background similar to electric company as far as applications but their task is much simpler with only 190 applications, 259 inventoried component types and 156 types of embedded systems. All compliance work projected to be completed by April 1999 and currently are on target of ahead of target in all areas. They have triaged the testing. With critical applications getting extensive tests and convenience items less testing.

Surprisingly, they have had little inquiry volume on compliance. It was noted there is no compliance mandate affecting them - only the banks and brokerage houses have had any real government scrutiny. (If they don't want to they don't have too - except for business survival...) They recognize the importance of electricity for their operations and will be adding generating capacity.

They have initiated contingency planning and are in a position to have people at locations to physically operate their network.

Telephone Presentation:

As with electric and gas, our phone company's initiative is sponsored by executive management. They have established a testing lab and have already tested its networks, desktops, and voice communications. In addition LAN software inventories hardware and software at login. Non compliant hardware has been identified as has unauthorized software. Employees will be instructed to remove the unauthorized software. (They aren't taking chances.)

They recognize their dependence on electricity and are negotiation fuel supply contracts that will insure priority delivery should there be extended power outages. They have limited storage fuel capacity at their generator sites.

They have also acknowledged that some of the equipment they have provided is not compliant (some CISCO routers for example). They will gladly help out if you have questions but suggest the manufacturer's web sit would probably be a quicker information source. In addition they advise testing of equipment. The maker of one of the product lines (with compliance issues) that they sold is no longer in business. In all cases, when testing be sure you know what you are doing and have staff that is capable of getting you going if you crash and burn.

They are checking and upgrading (as needed) each of their central office locations. They anticipate an interactive web site showing the status on any central office exchange by the end of the month. In any event the process should be complete by January 1999. Mission critical systems will be complete by this time.

Inter-operability testing is schedule to start 1st quarter 1999. This should allow participants to be far enough along to provide meaningful test results.

Expected costs for compliance $200,000,000. (Flowthrough testing i.e. extended service order tracking will cost 50-100 million alone).


They know Y2K is serious, and are taking it seriously. Things won't be perfect but they are planning to stay in business...


I don't know if you read the new NERC report, but this seems to be in agreement with it.

I look forward to hearing from you, and I'll follow your posts here with much greater interest.

-- Mike (, September 18, 1998.

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