Y2K Problem Solved - Water Will Now Run Up Hill!

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Is there any wonder we have trouble believing utility spokespersons when they describe Y2K readiness? Couldn't resist this one.

http://www.detnews.com/1999/technology/9903/06/03060025.htm Here are two snippets from the above article, "Utilities tell Senate committee they're almost ready for Y2K":

.................................................................... The companies said they had been ardently fixing software and replacing affected circuits. What they were more worried about were what their suppliers, including each other, were doing to fix the problem. "Just as they're concerned about us, we're concerned about them," said Steve Gordon, director of the Detroit Water and Sewer Board, which supplies water to 128 cities and towns.

Gordon and Fred Shell, a vice president for MichCon, said if their companies happened to lose all power or computers, their systems could still deliver water and gas manually. "We're highly dependent on gravity. That's not going to be affected by the Y2K problem," Gordon said. ..................................................................

Well, duh! Just in care you're wrong, we certainly hope the sewage plants are all downhill, Mr. Gordon


-- Bob Walton (waltonb@kdsi.net), March 07, 1999


Pardon the typo. It screwed up my punch line.

-- Bob Walton (waltonb@kdsi.net), March 07, 1999.

Hmmm. . .last time I checked, Michigan was pretty flat around Detroit. Head a little bit east (one of those communities served) and there are hills.

Oh, and then there's this quote from a round table in front of Michigan's emergency management division on January 15, 1999, from Detroit Edison:

"The strategy that we are pursuing at the onset of the Year 2000 program , the strategy that we wanto to focus on a high degree of reliable operability in Y2K periods, maximizing our customer service levels, and minimizing post Year 2000 litigation expenses."

Hmmm.. . .

Then..here we go with another comment from an electric utility in another part of the state (Consumers Energy--which may be tied in with Detroit Edison somehow now. . .) regarding the worse case scenario: "I think that 72 hour period is appropriate (for the public to be prepared). What would happen in a worse case scenario is that the ECAR grid would come down and the first thing that we and Detroit Edison would do at that point is to isolate the state of Michigan, the lower peninsula from the rest of Ecar and would initiate a plan called 'black light restart,' and piece by piece you start bringing the state back up on line."

I think Dick Mill's referred to this in Westergaard 2000 as "Balkanization of the Grid." I seem to remember he thought it was a bad idea.

That said--an aide to Senator Dunaskiss said in January that the recommendations to the public from his office included the quote, "You may choose to buy a generator." Apparently the worry was that if every auto plant in Michigan went down at the same time, bad things would happen to the electric flow.

So--Detroit Edison, et.al, is worried about everyone else but them. It's like saying "I'm sure I'm not crazy, but I don't know about you."

I wish someone from Michigan would comment on the above. I'd really like to be optimistic about utilities in America.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 07, 1999.

At a community awareness meeting two weeks ago in Kalamazoo, MI (served by Consumer's Energy), the PR spokesperson for the company assured the audience that no Y2K related outage would last more than "an hour". Nice trick.

When the manager of community preparedness and emergency response for the county was asked how water and sewer utilities would handle the changeover, he said, "that is why you are here tonight". Encouraging.

-- Jon Williamson (pssomerville@sprintmail.com), March 07, 1999.

A spokesperson for Detroit Edison said that the company had just completed its inventory June 30, 1998 at a community meeting in White Lake Twp. last summer. One of the Y2K project leaders in this article mentioned a 98% Y2K compliance figure at present. These two accounts are simply at odds with one another. Nine months and remediation and testing are almost complete??? End-to-end testing??

Always remember that governments and corporations wrote the book on spinning. The 98% reminds me of the 99% that the FAA's Jane Garvey mentioned, I believe in September. We now know, through recent GAO testimony, that one-third of the systems are not-compliant.

As Gary North says, "There are no sanctions for lying".

-- P J Christy (paulchri@msn.com), March 08, 1999.

Depends on what you count PJ. If you count all systems, then very likely you have 95% plus compliance almost anywhere. If you count from the number of systems needing remediation vs. the number remeidated and tested, then the figure might well be very different.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), March 09, 1999.

But Paul, if you count "all" systems, would you not be counting all the so-called non-mission critical systems that will not be remediated prior to 1/1/2000? That is hardly going to up the Y2K compliance figure.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), March 09, 1999.

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