euy2k posting : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

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Electric Utilities and Y2K Q&A Forum ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Has anyone heard of any utility companies/power plants that have performed Y2K testing and have found that it will not be compliant by January 1, 2000? I thought that I heard that this was the case for a Utah utility. Any information on this incident/issue would be greatly appreciated.

Asked by Norman Getz ( on October 09, 1998. Answers

I've not heard of any testing failures to date that have resulted in a utility company stating that a plant (or the company itself) would not be Y2k ready by 1/1/2000. That being said, there have been significant problems found during the testing process of plants and transmission / distribution networks. Refer to The good news: These are the problems we know about. The bad news: The problems we know about don't begin to scratch the surface of the problems we don't know about.

Answered by Rick Cowles ( on October 09, 1998. ----------------------------------------------------------------------I think it is pure speculation to say that there are "problems we don't know about", you could say that about any technology on Earth. I have read most of the web reports about the effect of embedded processors on the power supply but can still find no conclusive evidence. The trouble is its too technical/specialised a subject for most people to grasp (who are not working in the field). Will we ever know the truth. Will someone involved in the power industry please come clean.

-- Richard Dale (, October 12, 1998


"I think it is pure speculation to say that there are "problems we don't know about", you could say that about any technology on Earth."

I think this again speaks to my "I trust no one with something to sell" theory. Maybe I would listen to Cowles a lot closer if you didn't get an ad to buy his book his Index page. How many books would he sell if he said "Well I think we may be getting a handle on this"


-- Rick Tansun (, October 12, 1998.

I have answered my own question to bring it to the top of the list. The lack of response indicates in turn the lack of hard evidence of potential y2k power failure.

-- Richard Dale (, October 13, 1998.

The only thing a lack of response indicates is a lack of response.

-- Dave (, October 13, 1998.

Not necessarily, there is little hard information on the entire euy2k site, not much on the internet in general. Perhaps there's a lack of response because there's nothing to say. OK what are the alternatives: - There are serious problems which are being covered up (surely someone in the power industry would have blown the gaff if that were the case) - No (or trivial) problems have been found (if so why hasn't the industry reassured the public). - No-one is looking because they don't think there could be problems. NB I'm referring to embedded control systems of course rather than billing software.

-- Richard Dale (, October 13, 1998.

When I approached my local utility back in April, the G.M. in charge of y2k remediation was personally very nervous about their company's ability to complete remediation. He was unusually open about the fact that he was not sure at all if they would be prepared, and even re- counted the poor state of one of the local water utilites in their efforts.

Then, he went to a few regional utility meetings and 3 months later stated to me that he felt everything was under control. When I asked him about the various systems in need of remediation, he said that billing software was completed, everything else needed looking into further but that their plan of action was to mirror remediative efforts of his primary supplier. That was it. I nearly dropped the phone. That would be a tremendous and money saving plan IF they had the time to burn.

Fact 1. I knew more about the potential problems of y2k in a utility than this gentleman.

Fact 2. He admittedly used my 5 page questionaire to address his concerns to the company's primary supplier of power.

So, here you have it, from one of the hundreds of rural co-ops around the country. Got a generator yet?

By the way, what exactly do you think would happen if a major utility became very vocal about being 100% compliant? 1st of all, that would mean ALL of their vendors, sub-stations, fuel suppliers etc, ad nauseum, would have to be compliant and issue statements to that fact. The legal counsel to that utility would not allow it any other way.

Then the pressure would really be turned on all of the other utilities to do same. That is why IMO, you will not see utilities shouting from the front pages of newspapers 100% remediation.

They will remediate as far as they can, cross their fingers, place a lot of employees on stand-by and hope for the best.

You had better do the same.

-- Goldi (, October 13, 1998.

Look, there has been SO MUCH concern raised over Y2K and electricity, I think that we can safely rule out the scenario that everything is fine, and nobody is even worried enough about it to say so. In fact, the NERC report that was released on 9/17 pretty much rules out that, no matter how "cautiously optimistic" it is. The plain fact is, our electricity is dependent on many interdependent things, many if not most of which have a possibilty of failing within 15 months. How probable? "Nobody knows." For how long? "Nobody knows." Some people are reassured; some (like me) are very worried.

-- Jack (, October 13, 1998.

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