Dan the Power Man has been instructed to paint a pretty picture

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I was making a copy of a taped February interview with Gary North for a friend, and lo and behold, the subject of the April 9 "Power Grid Test" was mentioned. Gary had located a document posted back in February by NERC which instructs the utility organizations to "plan" the drill to not to be too difficult, since the goal is to instill public confidence.

Gary North's Post

It is hard to believe that the NERC would post this on the internet for the whole world to see, but here it is. Pay special attention to the portions I have highlighted in bold:

Posting by the NERC in Adobe PDF format:

Session 2-C (10:30  12:00) Y2k Drill Preparations

Assignment: Discuss the following questions. Prepare a summary of major conclusions to present to other workshop participants at the general session in the afternoon. You will have about 10 minutes to summarize the conclusions (5-8 PowerPoint slides maximum).

Background: The electric industry in North America is preparing to conduct a Y2k drill on April 9, 1999. The purpose of the drill is to prepare for operation with limited voice and data communications. A drill guide has been prepared defining the objectives and steps to prepare for and conduct the drill.

Discussion Questions:

1. The April 9 drill is intended to instill public confidence through success and at the same time be a real test of our ability to operate with limited communications capabilities. How can these two goals be balanced to provide the greatest value from the exercise?

7 Start planning for it now. 7 Prior to drill, test the system(s) that will be exercised during the drill. 7 Document drill procedures. 7 Identify system(s) to be drilled 7 Identify people involved and responsibilities (operators, data gathers and observers) 7 Establish success parameters. 7 Verify that there are no real security issues during the time of the drill. 7 Do not schedule unnecessary maintenance during the date of the drill. 7 Individual companies who choose to should develop their own plans to notify and coordinate with their local media 7 Have a plan for proactive customers who may come forward with questions about their participation. 7 What will the final report look like. Work backwards from this in the development of the drill procedures.

2. With slightly more than two months to prepare for an event that has never happened before  an industry wide drill  what steps are appropriate (by whom) to facilitate these preparations and enhance success?

7 Statement from each region to their member systems their regional drill requirements and external drill issues 7 Control Areas are responsible for reporting their drill plans to other Control Areas in region before March 5th. 7 Companies should move forward on drill preparaton regardless of Region requirements to be determined 7 The Regions could slow us down because they do not currently have the guide. We should not wait on the regions. 7 Drill coordinators are in charge. Companies should identify their drill coordinators now. 7 Do not make the drill too complex. We want to have a successful and meaningful story for publication. 7 Identify the success parameters before the test. What are the weaknesses we are looking for.

3. Describe specific types of scenarios or scripts that would be effective considering the goals of the drill.

7 Identify the critical communication loops to be drilled. 7 Drill the people involved as well as the process. 7 The drill should not interfere with normal operations. 7 The drill should test partial loss of voice and data communications and partial loss of EMS functionality.

4. How can we ensure that conduct of the drill does not adversely impact normal operations on April 9? What types of controls are appropriate during a drill of this type?

7 Consider separate staff assigned to work the drill rather than normal operations staff. 7 Develop parameters and procedures to identify drill conditions so that they are not confused with actual real-time conditions. 7 Always say this is a drill before and after every drill communication. Identify documentation used in the drill as drill documentation. 7 Identify the drill controllers at each company now. The drill controllers can stop the drill at any time if necessary. 7 Maximize the use of power system simulators. 7 Do not overload communication channels with drill communications. Identify specific phone numbers that will be used during the drill. 7 Should use the normal staff to conduct the drill. It is difficult but necessary. Use of the training shift is one possibility. 7 Each individual utility should access their capabilities in determining the extent of testing they will perform. Do not bite off more than you can chew.

5. Are there any comments of the drill guide or the post-drill evaluation form?

7 Companies should have a clear definition of what success is and how to measure it. 7 NERC should distribute the final ASAP. 7 Will NERC [SCS] specify the time frame of the drill? There is a concern that some utilities may be responding to drill requests all day long. This information is needed as soon as possible as some are beginning training soon. 7 Was NERC aware that April 9 th is a real Y2K sensitive date? Answer: Yes, April 9 th is the 99 th day of 1999. 7 Page one identifies a paper by Joe Wilson. Where can the paper be obtained? Answer: Gene Gorzelnik is attempting to post the paper on the nerc web site.


Maybe Dan isn't even aware himself that the whole thing was designed for success. Dan was merely doing on this forum what he has been told to do - paint a pretty picture.

Many sheeple on this forum seem to get incensed when some of us question the reports we hear. We often accuse these organizations of "lying" or "covering up". But do you honestly believe that this is an accurate test of what is likely to occur on January 1, 2000?

In order to be "politically correct" and to not offend anyone, I will not call it "lying." But I honestly do not know how to describe this type of behavior without sounding cynical. What term would you suggest from this point forward, perhaps "engineering the truth"?

-- @ (@@@.@), April 12, 1999


@ (@@@.@), commented:

"In order to be "politically correct" and to not offend anyone, I will not call it "lying." But I honestly do not know how to describe this type of behavior without sounding cynical. What term would you suggest from this point forward, perhaps "engineering the truth"?"

Answer is ............LYING !!

By allowing the folks in power to call it anything else we only lower the STANDARDS for all.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.

Actual firsthand knowledge is a conspiracy! I have proof!

(and the proof is -- @ and Ray aren't part of the conspiracy, having no apparent firsthand knowledge of anything).

But I thought conspiricists kept things secret. NERC made no secret of anything at all. Well, can't win 'em all, I guess.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 12, 1999.

Following up on my original post, the REALLY BIG LIE comes when the media outlets are told to report that the power grid test went GREAT. The sheeple are DECEIVED and the PROPAGANDA machine rolls on.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.

To the first point - No, I may disagree with his conclusions, and his extrapolation, but he is entitled to his opinion(s) - and may present his opinions any way he sees fit.

Now, to the second point - what his bosses (and the federally-paid "spokesmen" in DC) say and do with our tax money is a different point.

And I am entitled to my opinion (based on my observations over time) that they got into office by exploting the media's prejudices, by lying to the public about public policies and their proposed policies, that they have lied before many times while in office to keep in office, and that they are lying now, and will, most likely, continue to keep lying - while being protected by a compliant, eager-to-please national media who have been, and will continue to, attack and demonize any potential critics of this administration.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 12, 1999.


NO you insensitive doombrooder!!!! It's called "preventing the hoaders, doomers and wackos from starting a panic!!!" THAT after all is more important than systems going down anyway.

They'll fix it.

They said they would.

Preventing panic and shutting these panic-mongering nutcases up is more important than conducting an honest test. Because as we all know, the real danger comes from those preparing to become self reliant and the fact they are trying to get others to do the same. It's treason I tell ya!

And the enemies of the state are North, Yourdon, Hamasaki and all you Clinton-hating insurrectionists out there.

C'mon folks - did you really think on this side of the looking glass that someone would really do the HONEST and RIGHT thing - like NOT spin the test before they had it?

Can you say "Propaganda"?

And some wonder what Kosovo has to do with Y2K.

Similarities anyone?

-- INVAR (gundark@sw.net), April 12, 1999.

No, Flint, they just support the spin. I always find that suspect.

Perhaps the conspiracy is in telling half-truths ... or is that half-lies?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Flint commented:

"NERC made no secret of anything at all. Well, can't win 'em all, I guess. "

My understanding is that NERC is required by law to publish the minutes of all meetings. They counted on the sheeple not being made aware of this sham and indeed they wern't.

And the PROPAGANDA machine rolls on!!

-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.

It's all a big c.y.a. game.

So, why would anyone want to cover their ass if they thought it was all going down?

-- from the peanut gallery (just@question.?), April 12, 1999.

I take Dan's self-reported but detailed description of his own activities at face value. Good work. But NERC is another matter and the fact that they "announced" the shameless intention of this drill is scarcely a defense, considering that so-called responsible media are so stupid or cupid that they have already reported it as though it ensures the grid will stay up.

Flint --- your own biases are showing here. Sometimes spin and deceit really IS spin and deceit.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), April 12, 1999.

My understanding was that Dan was writing about his own experience in the field, not specifically about the 4/9 test. And the results of over 100 tests is the power worked. To wit: "Yes, it is true that we in the power biz have not done the best job of clearly and consistently communicating what we are up to with Y2K. But the news is GOOD, we just need to figure out the best way of communicating this. We are not hiding anything." You guys just HAVE to believe the power is going down. If someone brings up a rational opinion to the contrary, with real experience to back it up, you simply create meaningless arguments against it, as in this thread.

According to Dan, the power just ain't gonna fail. Sorry.

Here's the original post:

There have been numerous discussions about bits and pieces of the issue of whether power will be available com year 2000. Here is a summary of my views:

1) I am an electrical engineer working for a power company with about one million customers, doing Y2K project management and testing of generation, transmission and distribution devices. 2) I have witnessed or personally tested over 100 devices and systems used by power companies, including protective relays, remote transmitting units, transformer monitors and controllers, recloser and circuit breaker controls, and software programs used in communicating with these devices. The tests involve more than 15 dates, and include rollover, and reboot type tests. 3) Not a single device we tested so far has been found to lose its basic functionality during Y2k tests (yes, we have performed individual and system tests). The distributed control systems at power plants and the energy management system were in the process of being upgraded before Y2K issues came along, so we waited until these upgrades were made before testing. These systems also passed our tests. Except for a few one of a kind devices at select substations, we are complete with our testing efforts. 4) Our company is a member of the Electric Power Research Institute's Y2K program. Through this program, we have access to the test results of thousands of other devices. Those results are consistent with ours. I'm not saying there aren't devices needing some upgrades, but those few that do are widely known.

Based upon these facts (feel free to dispute them, but be sure to be specific about a device or system that you have proof that it fails Y2K tests for readiness), here are my opinions:

1) There is no need to make any special arrangements for Y2K as it relates to power. If you need a portable generator for general use or personal well-being, by all means get one. But don't get it for Y2K. 2) If someone tries to tell you that there will be numerous outages, ask them specifically how they know this. As an example, Robert Cook says outages aplenty will occur. I have asked him three times if he has Y2K tested any devices. He has not responded, so I assume that he has not tested anything (feel free to correct me, Robert). I recommend that you consider these things when reading posts on this or any other forum. 3) Power companies aren't scheduled to be complete with remediation and testing until June 30, so you won't see much on the web or otherwise until July. But at that time, you will see numerous utilities come forward and declare their system Y2K ready. I'm giving you this "inside information" so that you know what is coming. 4) Yes, it is true that we in the power biz have not done the best job of clearly and consistently communicating what we are up to with Y2K. But the news is GOOD, we just need to figure out the best way of communicating this. We are not hiding anything.

I hope this clears up any confusion about where I stand on this. My goal here is to inform, not to discredit nor flame others.


-- One (one@one.one), April 12, 1999.

Can you say "Disinformatsya"?

Why tell the truth or a lie when a half-truth will do? That way if you're caught in your half-lie, you can say you "Had incomplete information/memory regarding the specifics of that issue."

Worked for Moscow. Works for Bubba and Hillary. Seems to be working for the corporate PR jackals and government (dis)information slugs. For now.

I wouldn't take all the money in the pre-Y2K world to be in their shoes when a cold, hungry, angry populace goes hunting for the ones who lied to them and thwarted any chance they had to survive Y2K with less disruption and pain.



-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), April 12, 1999.


Please read Mr. Robert Cook's reply to Dan at this link and give us your comments. Thanks. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Diane and Ray:

I agree that NERC failed to make enough effort to clarify the purpose and limits of their drill. I have no problem with either the purpose or the limits of the drill, only with NERC's failure to do the necessary PR, to come out and say HEY! This is NOT a test. This is just practice in case communications break down. This does NOT in any way indicate that power will stay up. At best, it trains us to handle outages better and faster.

As for Dan, I welcome his first hand information. The implication that he is a paid shill for a failing industry is paranoid claptrap. True, his experience is hardly exhaustive. Neither is Hamasaki's. They are both extrapolating from what they know.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 12, 1999.

Well said, Sir Flint (of the hard-nosed) -

In contrast, notice the "way they publicized this test," the manner, and the "spin" given this limited test by the administration - these administrators are going out of their way to *deliberately* publicize it (repeated uncritically by the national media) as a complete, full-up, integrated systems-level test of the entire nation's electric system - across all systems, all plants, and all parts of the nation.

It is not, was not, and never was intended to do that level of testing, nor to be that complete. And the administrators knew it - but apparently don't want the public to know it.

What it did was fine, for the level of the drill and for the single shift in the plants that cose to join it. It is not enough, and knowing that only "one" other national electrical systems test is planned is irresponsible behavior - bordering on the criminal - by the nation's administrators. In my opinion, one such test week - each increasing in difficultly, each involvong full-up real systems testing of the "real grid" and with all lesson-learned passed freely to the public and all utilties in the US and Canada - would begin to justify their current optimism and their continued predictions of "bumping the road."

But - they cannot do this level of testing now - not enough plants and utiltities are complete with remediation. They have not planned to do the single test planned later this year to the minimum level needed to "exercise" the real system under real conditions. Thus, I conclude that they apparently do not "dare" test under live loads for fear of service disruptions of some sort, even later in the year.

Therefore , it is my observation that the first time the system will be exposed to "real" conditions will be next year.

Therefore, it is my opinon that they cannot reasonably provide the current level of reliability for services next year.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 12, 1999.

Dan: I have asked you this several before and you did not answer or evaded the issue. Can you tell us the name of the power company that you work for? (You can attach the standard disclaimer that your opinions are not necessarily those of your employer).

I can understand the reasoning of those posters that have negative things to say not wanting to disclose where they work (such as myself). But those that are saying "no problem" should have nothing to hide (to quote you "We are not hiding anything")

-- a (a@a.a), April 12, 1999.


Not sure I entirely follow you -- this isn't my specialty, and you may be taking knowledge for granted. So bear with me.

First, live testing does pose risks of outages or service interruptions, if they are comprehensive tests. By this, I mean problems due solely to the test procedures, even if there were in fact no problems at all. I know I have screwed things up in the lab while testing equipment, which subsequently turned out to be artifacts of the test environment, when nothing was wrong with the unit under test. So this does appear to be a danger.

Second, if Dan and others like him (I've heard few say otherwise) are correct, the urgency of the testing regime you recommend wouldn't seem to exist. The 'cure' might well prove more problematic than the disease.

Third, I don't think you can conclude that the current level of reliability can't be provided. I'd agree that the *confidence* in the current level wouldn't be there. It would seem to be a matter of public, rather than engineering, confidence. From an engineering standpoint, such testing would take the form of demonstrations rather than tests. If public loss of confidence in service becomes a matter of political sensitivity, I suppose the intensity of 'testing' (or holding demonstrations *called* tests, depending on your relationship to the actual issues) may prove advisable.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 12, 1999.

As Shakespeare (approxiamtely) wrote - "Aye - that's the rub."

That question (excessive testing) or (insufficient testing) unfortunately can't be resolved directly - before the fact, that is. Problem is, the actual result: success (highly reliable power - to today's standards) or "failure" (intermittent and unreliable power that weakens recovery and restorationof other services and systems) can't be predicted. One or the other will occur, regardless of what "people want" or what "Politicians desire" or what "experts think" will happen.

This - unlike any other problem faced by these current politicians who respond to everything by doing what the "polls" say the "public wants" - won't respond to "polls" or opinions - yours, mine, Decker's, or Dan's.

The problems will either be discovered (and eliminated) now through nothing less than thoughtful, epensive, time-consuming remediation involving the best knowledge of the most experienced (most experienced) designers available. Or they will be discovered by adequate levels of multiple-leveled systematic-wide integrated testing now.

Or they will be discovered by actual operation - or the failure to operate - later.

My preference is the first and second: repair as much as possible now to prevent all anticipated problems; test to find out what unanticipated problems were actually present. Fix those. Retest to find new problems.

The third choice isn't pleasant. It's (potentially) much more expensive than testing errors like at Peach Bottom and operational errors as in SFO. But one way or another, at one time or another, most of the system errors will be found and removed sooner or later. Either in design, remediation, testing or in actual initial operation.

Which leaves only those errors and omissions and mistakes you don't find in time to fix. Some you will find later, some you may never find. Some will cause big problems, some may never be uncovered as problems or symptoms of problems at all. Some are trivial, some inconvenient, some catastrophic.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 12, 1999.


I agree with you. Since Dan has been asking me for my real e-mail address, and he seems to be so forthcoming with his information, I think he should not be afraid of posting his company name. It will be interesting to see what their 10-Q report looks like, and to find out if Dan is in fact an employee of the company as he says. I am starting to supect that he was hired by NERC as a "utility company" impostor to go out and spread the disinformation to the media and the internet. This will help to release them from any future liability for failures by putting up a front that they are taking the proper steps to remediate the problem, when in fact, they are really waiting to "fix on failure" because it will save them a ton of money.

-- @ (@@@.@), April 13, 1999.

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