Help needed refuting the Gartner Group's "maximum of 72 hour power failure" forecast. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hi everyone:
I need your help.
The major utility companies in my state, as well as the state itself. are all using the Gartner Group's estimate of "72 hours is the worst case power outage" scenario in their contingency planning. They repeat it as if it were gospel.
Unfortunately, this same 72-hour figure is also being used in public announcements by elected officials when the public asks how long power might be off. The blind leading the blind ...
My questions are:
1) Does anyone have a copy of the link where Gartner's "72 hour" prediction can be found?
2) Does anyone know how Gartner derived this figure?
3) Are there any credible sources of (or links to) information to substantiate Gartner's reasoning for this position?
4) What is Gartner's accuracy track record on past forecasts?
5) Does anyone have any links or other information showing where Gartner was proven to be significantly in error on previous estimates?
Unless I can find some credible source to show that Gartner is wrong on their "72 hour" guess, and has been seriously wrong in the past on issues, this "72 hours" mindset will continue to go unchallenged. It's all but become the rule here already.
I don't share Gartner's optimism but I need something concrete that directly pertains to them that proves they've been wrong (hopefully seriously wrong) on other past issues. Until then, it's all a matter of differing opinions and we have the proverbial stalemate. I'm in a position to get the ear of some of our state legislators and need your help with this one.
Thanking everyone in advance.

-- Dan (, January 09, 1999


Sorry Dan, the Gartner Group is the most respected company in the industry. Lots of companies give them lots of money for their advice. You won't find anyone on this forum who can substantiate any thing to refute this source of brainpower. I believe the Gartner Group and I have a hard copy of their report. I might be able to find the URL.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (, January 09, 1999.

Try this on them: The train companies have said they will not run. Our local power company needs three train loads of coal a day to operate.They hav a ninety day supply. Assuming they will be compliant ( they are not now ) the power outage here will be forever.

-- Garry Whitman (, January 09, 1999.


Try Westergaard year 2000

Try Rick Cowels (?) site

Try G. North's site (could lead you else where...)

Good luck!

-- Sub-Mitt (, January 09, 1999.

Your question is a good one. Here is my take on this.

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that all embedded systems need to be tested. David Hall has done a credible job of getting this message out. Lack of an external date displays or the lack of a need for a date by the user do not imply compliance. Two "identical" embedded systems can be "not identical" regarding compliance.

Now here is what is really important. All systems are not being tested for compliance despite the need for this.

The the chaps at Gartner do not know, will not know, and can not find out how long the breakdown is going to be for.

Without fully tested every embedded system, the chaps in a specific utility do not know, will not know, and can not find out how long their breakdown is going to be for.

They can make wild estimates but that doesn't do any good. They can make politically correct estimates which will benefit those that want to prevent a premature panic.

Don't ask for whom the code fails. It fails for thee.

-- Tomcat (, January 09, 1999.

Dan, the Gartner Group cannot have more information about the status of utilities in this country than does NERC, the government agency overseeing their Y2K progress. Check out these links provided by Rick Cowles at the Electric Utilites Y2K open forum:

.." you might find it helpful to read a couple of recent things off of the NERC Y2k website (

The first item is Teleconference Minutes from 11/20/1998, which can be found at: .pdf

(Note - you need the Adobe Reader browser plugin to view this one, but it's very enlightening...)

The second is the November Monthly Summary and Database, which is available as an Excel workbook at:

Pay attention to the concerns expressed about the many utilities not participating or responding to questionnaires. Also, here is a quote from the teleconference report: "The latest Assessments are showing a problem with the projected completion dates reported. Intial Assessments were to be completed by October 31, 1998 ....... " "Average projected completion dates are two weeks behind these targets as of the October reports."

If the NERC is seeing slippage among those utilities which are willing to report, this does not indicate any sure accuracy of the Gartner assessments.

Also, in the same report: "The November 16 teleconference reaised our level of concern as to where the telecomminication companies are at with joint testing and information sharing with each other. Most of the joint efforts are in the initial phases, which to our thinking is very late." Since utilities depend on the telecommunications infrastructure for successful operation, this also indicates a major problem.

You also might want to point out this section from First Energy Corp.'s most recent SEC Year 2000 statement:

"The Company believes the most reasonably likely worst case scenario from the Year 2000 issue to be disruption in power plant monitoring systems, thereby producing inaccurate data and potential failures in electronic switching mechanisms at transmission junctions. This would PROLONG [my emphasis] localized outages, as technicians would have to manually activate switches."

Finally, try pointing out that natural storms in the past year and a half have blacked out whole regional areas from a week to over a month. (The ice storms in the northeast and Canada, and the south) The problem with the generating facility in Scotland left that area without power for several days. Why should they rely on problems from the first national simultaneous "computer storm" to have less consequences than a natural weather occurence of only regional impact?

And when they don't listen, or aren't convinced, know that it's more likely that believing and planning for a short outage is simply more in the realm of what they WANT to believe and that Gartner is just a convenient excuse not to address the more serious possibilities which would require a lot more work and expense. At least you will have tried, and that's the main thing! All good luck to you.

-- Bonnie Camp (, January 09, 1999.


The Wichita Eagle did an article in November on the GartnerGroup's report. The article agrees with the report, but the article does admit that the report was tailored for consumer consumption and not aimed at its usual bsuiness and government customers:

"The GartnerGroup report is an unusual departure for the firm, which aims most of its work towards large businesses or industry groups. This report, a compilation of comments from 18 GartnerGroup analysts, is aimed at consumers."

To read a point-by-point rebuttal of the Wichita Eagle article and the GartnerGroup report, see this link to an article entitled "The Disconnect Effect: About that Y2K Warning...":

-- Kevin (, January 09, 1999.


Also see this thread from csy2k on that GartnerGroup report aimed at consumers:

Again, hope this helps.

-- Kevin (, January 09, 1999.

Dan, Also ask your question of the guys on the Electric Utilities and Y2K forum (same as Yourdon format): and-a.tcl?topic=Electric%20Utilities%20and%20Y2K

Also, a little off topic, there is another thread over there on Maps of the Power Grid:

maps of the power grid anywhere?

These were fascinating. Electric Power Generation Components: chapter3.html

A map of the NERC Regional Councils at:< /a>

You will need the Adobe reader for this pointed out by Rick Cowles:


-- Diane J. Squire (, January 09, 1999.

"The train companies have said they will not run" -- source please?

-- Shimrod (, January 09, 1999.

Don't forget there will be a new NERC report released on Monday


-- Rick Tansun (, January 09, 1999.

And what do you think that report will say, Mr. Tansun??

d/l some of the NERC source documents that someone else described earlier in this thread before you read or hear about the NERC report. Then, use a little critical analysis when you read the NERC report on Monday.

It will have happy face stickers pasted from page one to the final page. And we won't know any more from the "official industry" source than we did when we started. No, I take that back - we will, but it won't be because of anything in the report.

Read my lips: follow the money.


-- Dan Webster (, January 09, 1999.

A seventy-three hour power outage will exhaust the seventy-two hour fuel supplies of most hospital, police department, fire department and other government agency back-up generators. Ergo; the worst power outage that they can imagine is the worst that they have planned for.

They obviously never heard of Murphy's Law.

I tend to rely more on what a family member who works at a large southeastern power company says: "We don't know just how bad it's going to get, because we can't know everything that's going to go wrong." At least they are acknowledging that Murphy will have a hand in the game.


-- Wildweasel (, January 09, 1999.

Nobody can possibly know when and if there will or will not be blackouts on Jan 1st. 2000. Gartner group's 72 hr. estimate isn't too be taken seriously. This company like the Gov't is concerned about public perception of the problem.

-- Glenn L. klotz (, January 09, 1999.


FWIW, here's a URL for the Gartner 'consumer' prep page: l


-- Jerry B (, January 09, 1999.


The rail system has to work for coal to get to those electric utilities that need it. And there are many coal-burning power plants in the U.S. Will the rail system work? Here's a quote from John Koskinen that appeared in a USA Today story:

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII "We are deeply concerned about the railroads," Koskinen says. "We have no indication that they are going to make it."

The rails maintain their own telecommunication system, which provides computerized operation for vital systems, such as switches and warning signals, Koskinen says. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

-- Kevin (, January 10, 1999.

Glenn and Dan, I warned you about trying to poo-poo the Gartner Group. Do you know the statement "Y2K fixes won't be done in time because most software development doesn't meet its schedule." Guess where it came from... That's right the Garnter Group! Their estimates on software development have been around for some time and have been quoted on many of these discussions. Even Ed Yourgod has refered to Gartner Group in his arguements. Now you start refuting the most reputable company around and you're going to sound moronic. My suggestion is to look at the report. I don't have it in front of me but I'll bet that these estimates are based on the assumption that the power plants will finish their conversions. Tell the power plant that they can't stop work on their Y2k projects, using the Garnter Group's prediction. And BTW, I believe that Y2K projects can meet their deadlines because it's not a "development"; I view Y2K as a maintenance.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (, January 10, 1999.


Do you know the statement "Y2K fixes won't be done in time because most software development doesn't meet its schedule." Guess where it came from... That's right the Garnter Group!


I could have never figured that out on my own. Let us bow down before the benevolent Gartner Group and thank them for imparting such elusive knowledge.

Many times I've seen the GG be right. Many times I've seen them be wrong. So what.

-- Grizzled Programmer (, January 10, 1999.

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