Idaho power answering some tough questions - can't predict how long a Y2K outage may last : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Pretty interesting Q & A from a Power company. Check out # 16 (Nor can we predict how long any outage may last, Y2K related or not. Sounds a little more reasonable than Gov'ts 72 hour crap). The only thing I can figure is they know the folks in Idaho won't take to kindly to being lied to, and the Idaho power exec's would find a load full of 00 buckshot in their hind quarters ;-) - Let me know what you think.

Idaho Power Year 2000 Frequently Asked Questions

6. Will Idaho Power be affected by another companies' inability to address Y2K issues?

That is possible. By its very nature, the electric utility industry is very much dependent upon an electric grid that connects utilities throughout the western portions of North America. This interconnection is essential to the reliability and operational integrity of each connected utility. This also means the failure of one electric utility in the interconnected grid could cause the failure of others. In the context of the Year 2000 computer problem, this interconnectivity compounds the challenge faced by the electric utility industry. The Company could do a very thorough and effective job of becoming Year 2000 compliant and yet encounter difficulties supplying services and energy because another utility in the interconnected grid failed to achieve Year 2000 compliance. In this regard, the Company is working closely with electric industry organizations concerned with reliability issues and interested in technical collaboration in order to facilitate cooperation within the industry.

Another source of possible problems is with our providers of goods and services. Key providers include our telephone service provider, fossil fuel providers and manufacturers of generation and transmission equipment. We have identified all critical service providers and manufacturers and are asking them to inform us of their Y2K status. Our contingency planning exercise will also address the possibility of stockpiling critical supplies such as coal.

7. Can't Idaho Power isolate itself from the interconnected grid?

No, it would not help to open the tie lines (disconnect from the grid.) The system was designed to operate as a single, integrated, interconnected system. To try to operate in segmented pieces would run a high risk of failure due to unforeseen problems arising from such a foreign mode of operation. Also, Idaho Power does not always generate enough power to meet demand within its service area. The company relies on the ties to other utilities to meet system demand, maintain a stable frequency and to provide emergency power in the event of an internal generation outage.

One action that Idaho Power and other utilities in the western interconnection are contemplating is to operate the system at reduced levels of power transfer during the transition to the year 2000. This will reduce stress and help enable the system to withstand failures due to computer problems. This is will be considered as part of our contingency planning exercise.

8. Will those power companies not meeting a specific level of compliance be shut down or cut off the Grid? What is Idaho Power's plan to deal with the unexpected?

We are in the middle of conducting a thorough risk mitigation and planning session where all options, including this one, are being considered. The purpose of this process is to reduce the possibility of problems occurring and to have contingency plans in place to minimize the impact if they do. The process will address all the likely points of possible failure.

12.Should I buy my own generator?

In spite of our best efforts, occasional power outages are a fact of life in this business. Our customers have successfully withstood these in the past and should be able to in the future. The decision to buy a generator depends on your own situation and your ability to handle power outages. Those who are most sensitive to loss of power might want to consider a backup power source to use in any situation where power is lost. If you choose to do so as a few of our customers have, you should have the work completed by a licensed, qualified electrician to ensure proper installation and use.

16. If there is a power outage on January 1, 2000, how long might it last?

Idaho Power and the rest of the electric industry is doing all that it reasonably can to ensure that your lights will be on Jan. 1, 2000. However, just as we cannot guarantee that there will be no interruption of your electrical service within the next minute due to unforseen reasons such as storms, accidents or equipment failure, we cannot guarantee that there will not be an interruption in service on Jan. 1, 2000. Nor can we predict how long any outage may last, Y2K related or not.

-- Matt (, February 22, 1999


Wow, this is dynamite information, and leaves no doubt as to how "interconnected" the power industry is. When one considers how succeptible our electricity is to cascading failures (e.g., the recent San Fransisco blackout), this is very sobering indeed.

-- Jack (, February 22, 1999.

Thank you Matt very much for the post. Honest answers. What a concept. LOL

-- kay (, February 23, 1999.

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