GN's army/electrical power link : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

gary north's list of newest news items includes a link to an army presentation on possible problems with electrical power, but my browser is not showing me the slides.

is there a text version of the presentation out there somewhere?


-- Cowardly Lion (, April 16, 1999


CL - I had no trouble getting through to the slides. The URL is:

-- Brooks (, April 16, 1999.

sobering slide show. copy it while it's still available.

-- jocelyne slough (, April 16, 1999.

Slide 24 opines the need for Public Education (early 99) to keep people calm, necessary because "There are indications that uninformed people may hoard essentials and take money out of the banking system and the stock market."

Slide 24 continues with the Public Education: "We don't know what will happen." "Don't panic: govt and industry are well along in CP to prevent serious problems." And plan for a hurricane, etc.. "We will help you make preparations for yourself, your families, your neighbors and your community." (Hmmmmmmm....?)

Slide 26: "Contingency Planning. Present CP to cope with an uncertain array of possible power difficulties needs to be broadened and accelerated. The focus should be on community prep. This will require a well-coordinated plan involving federal, state and local govt. as well as industry and community groups. People need early and continuing confidence that there will be a safety net of cash, credit, food, water, heat, communications and emergency services."

After reading the first 23 slides, a straightforeward assessment of risk, I find the final 3 slides to be quite at odds with the assessment and have an internal disconnect between themselves - rather like two people talking.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, April 16, 1999.

This is to save time for those of you that would like to read/save this. PPT Slide Show (I didn't include graphics)

In the electric industry, the extensive computer and control systems that operate power plants, the relays and circuit breakers that protect the system during short circuits, the communications systems that allow operators to control system elements at remote sites, and the energy management system computers that control the flow of electricity across the grid are all susceptible. Software and electronic hardware glitches could cause any of those systems to malfunction resulting in the unexpected opening of transmission lines, outages of generation, or loss of system control elements. 

NERC Reliability Assessment 1998-2007, September 1998 Briefing Agenda

Characteristics of the North American electric power industry that relate to Y2K.

January 11, 1999 Y2K Report of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).

Lessons learned from the July 1996 Electric Power Outages in the Western United States.

What should be done in the time remaining

Characteristics of the Electric Power Industry Relating to Y2K

Deregulation and the impact of market forces on the industry have made it more difficult to respond to Y2K:

Vertical disintegration and new market entrants make information sharing and coordination harder and less universal. Extensive regional and national interconnection has resulted in widespread long-distance sale of electrical energy (wheeling), straining transmission lines and reducing generation capacity margins.

The electric power industry has a long tradition of voluntary self-regulation.

In 1968 electric utilities formed NERC to help its members assess reliability of generation and transmission systems, to prevent blackouts. The DOE has tasked NERC to coordinate Y2K transition of the electric power industry.

NERC is transforming itself into an organization with compliance enforcement powers - but not in time to deal with Y2K.

NERC January 11, 1999 Y2K Report to DOE

Tone of the report, the second of planned quarterly reports on industry Y2K preparation, is one growing optimism:

With more than 44% of mission-critical components tested through November 30, 1998, findings continue to indicate that transition through critical Year 2000 rollover dates is expected to have minimal impact on electric system operations in North America..

NERC Presented 3 Issues:

Not all facilities or systems will meet the target date of June 30, 1999.

But the industry will still be able to provide reliable, sustained service in the Year 2000.

It has proven very difficult to perform integrated testing of electrical voice and data communications supplied by external providers.

Distribution systems use few electronics but are radial, with limited redundancy options.

NERC Has Lowered The Y2K Compliance Standard

Last year NERC reduced the standard :

Y2K Ready means a system or component has been determined to be suitable for continued use into the Year 2000. Note that this is not necessarily the same as Y2K Compliant, which implies fully correct date manipulations. Consistent with practices across other industries, the NERC assessment process has adopted the term Y2K Ready and does not use the term Y2K Compliant.

NERC, Preparing the Electric Power Systems of North America for Transition to the Year 2000., September 1998.

CNA Assessment of the NERC January 1999 Y2K Status Report

End-to-end testing of complex grid interconnections is very difficult to do without creating outages over very large areas.

Not acceptable to the power consumers. Could severely damage electrical equipment.

Integrated testing of externally provided voice and data communications with the electrical industry is very difficult.

Leaving potential vulnerability of a critical interface unknown. CNA Assessment of the NERC January 1999 Y2K Status Report, cont.

Inability to test the vulnerabilities of the interdependence between the electrical industry and communications suppliers makes it hard to know what will happen if there are failures.

It may be possible to gain insight about possible electric system behavior under Y2k contingencies by examining a recent large-scale outage. . .

July 1996 Power Outages in the Western United States

-- A case Study --

North American Electrical Interconnections

The Events: July 2-3, 1996

At 2:24 PM the 345KV transmission line between southwestern Wyoming and southeastern Idaho shut down automatically due to a short circuit.

A second later a parallel line tripped in error, disconnecting two large generating units from the grid.

After 23 seconds, a voltage collapse began in Idaho and eastern Oregon.

July 2-3, 1996, cont.

After 35 seconds the Western grid serving 14 states, 2 Canadian provinces and northern Baja California separated into 5 electrically separate islands.

To avert major damage to generation and transmission facilities.

Service to 2 million customers was interrupted for from several minutes to 6 hours.

On July 3 a replay of these events began at 2:03 PM but was manually contained.

DOE Analysis, August 1996

Initial cause was a planned-for event, a double contingency that should have been contained in the local area:

A short circuit between a sagging line and a tree caused the first transmission line to trip. The parallel line tripped due to a faulty relay which interpreted the first event as its own.

2 of 4 generating stations were disconnected from the local grid, introducing frequency, voltage and current instabilities into the area.

DOE Analysis, cont.

The instabilities were not contained, and a cascading effect began in the Western Interconnection grid.

The grid could not cope with the instabilities because it was moving an unprecedented volume of cheap Canadian hydroelectric power generated from prior abundant rainfall into the Northwest, Rocky Mountains and California.

A result of market competition. Stressing transmission lines. DOE Conclusions, cont.

Need for better procedures and information systems:

To restrict Available Transfer Capability (wheeling between grids) when necessary. To produce faster local load shedding in order to avoid islanding when transmission systems become overloaded.

Worry that WVA/VA 765KV grid interconnection planned for 1998 wont be available until 2002.

Making mid-Atlantic states vulnerable.

CNA Y2K Analysis

Industry deregulation since 1996 may have made the electrical power grid more vulnerable to Y2K:

Competition produces far more inter-grid power wheeling, stressing transmission stability beyond industry modeling and planning July 1996 power outages in the West are an indicator. Unbundling of generation, transmission, distribution and brokering makes coordinated exchange of information and action more difficult. CNA Analysis, cont.

The industry voluntary self-regulation regime, with extensive deregulation and divided Federal and state government roles, may not be responsive enough and fast enough to deal with the Y2K issue.

Gartner Group now ranks the power industry and its vendors Level 3, meaning a projected 80% chance of at least one Y2K-induced mission critical systems failure in 50% of the nations electric utilities.

The industry systems for modeling and analyzing contingencies emphasize continued operation in spite of the most severe single contingency,

In July 1996 the Western Interconnection grid crashed with 2 small contingencies.

These systems are far less capable of dealing with multiple and dispersed contingencies.

But Y2K failures are almost surely going to be multiple and geographically dispersed - even if not catastrophic individually.

The industry strategy of isolating failures may fail because few participants may be healthy enough (Y2K compliant in every important respect) to execute it.

Moreover, the strategy assumes that all required fixes or workarounds to the initial failure - e.g. an offending tree or relay - can be made quickly, thus allowing the system to reconstitute itself in hours or days.

What if the Y2K fixes take weeks?

What Should be Done in the Time Remaining?

Electric power is the most important industrial sector from a Y2K perspective:

Little else works if there is no power. Restoring systems may take days or weeks.

It is unlikely that we will know what will happen to electric power until we experience the Y2K transition.

Public Education and Contingency Planning are key steps for the time remaining.

Public Education

It is vital that a national program to educate the public be mounted early in 1999:

To foster and encourage not only individual preparation but also neighborhood and community preparation.

To prevent anxiety or panic:

There are already publications and web sites forecasting millennium catastrophe. There are indications that uninformed people may hoard essentials and take money out of the banking system and the stock market.

Public Education: The Message

The message:

We wont know for sure what will happen until it happens. Dont panic: government and industry are well along in contingency planning to prevent serious problems. The key is effective community preparation. As we do for hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters. We will help you make preparations for yourself, your families, your neighbors and your community. ( my comment: It sounds like they have reached phase three of "the message" when will phase four kick in? )

Contingency Planning

Present contingency planning to cope with an uncertain array of possible power difficulties needs to be broadened and accelerated.

The focus should be on community preparation. This will require a well-coordinated plan involving federal, state and local government as well as industry and community groups. People need early and continuing confidence that there will be a safety net of cash, credit, food, water, heat, communications and emergency services. (end)

Well, WHEN are they going to start informing people, instead of denying the potential for disruptions??

-- Deborah (, April 16, 1999.

Maybe I missed it, but what does CNA stand for?

-- Gearhead (, April 16, 1999.

On the first slide page, the rightmost navigation button -- [A] -- accesses a text-only version of each slide.

-- Tom Carey (, April 16, 1999.

No doubt all here understand that this pessimistic analysis is the work of crafty maverick programmers hustling the government for overtime -- probably in league with really clever entrepreneurial authors who have infiltrated DoD, hoping to increase their book sales?

"Life is complex: there is a real part, and there is an imaginary part." (Anon.)

Der Knabe Dieter may wish to amplify my remarks.

-- Tom Carey (, April 16, 1999.

Yes but if you can not see it, you can not click it.

For the text only version start with

and go from there. You will miss two all graphics pages, one shows the three main grids in the USA, (east, west and Texas) the other shows the NERC inventory, assesment, remediation/test graphs for 3rd and 4th quarter of 98 with a big fat old red arrow added by the Army pointing at the 4th quarter remediation/test percentage that says "The Problem". Real subtle.

I'ld love to hear the verbal text and see the handouts that go with this presentation. It is so pleasant to hear unminced words for a change.

-- Ken Seger (, April 16, 1999.


-- Testing Linking (, April 16, 1999.


-- Testing Linking (, April 16, 1999.

Let's see. The army thinks that there is real potential for power interuptions. And that education is needed so that people don't try to prepare on their own but rather rely on the government supplied safety net.

I don't feel amused, so why can't I stop laughing?

God help us all


-- eyes_open (, April 16, 1999.

I"m gonna get this right.


-- Testing Linking (, April 16, 1999.

Well it worked even if it was slide 13.

-- Testing Linking (, April 16, 1999.

But guys, since I KNOW my community has no intention of providing a big brother "safety net" of "cash, credit, food, water, heat...", would it maybe be ok if I sorta just take care of myself on this one??

-- Brooks (, April 16, 1999.

eyes_open: I hadn't really caught that, I guess I'm so used to the spin by this time. So true. So pathetic. My take with respect to this presentation is that the author had nowhere to go at this point, as though he thought, "hmmm. This means that people need to .... uh-oh .... can't say that .... guess I'll just have to throw in the usual PR.

-- BigDog (, April 16, 1999.

What if Y2K fixes take weeks? (in the power supply) ...

The key is effective community preparation. -- U.S. Army

Organized by ... each community, or the Army?

Which would you choose?


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 16, 1999.

I just printed the slide show out from slide 26 to 1 and I found reading it again in reverse order was even more disconcerting! How the hell they could promote slide 6 ... optimising growing ... OOPs ....growing optimism... (looking at these things from all angles can be interesting) Well.... I feel a lot better now!!! I sure am more OPTO-MISTY Well back to building my solar dehydrator. Can anyone help me with info on posting a diagram or schematic here? A fellow GI wants to see what I've come up with re: solar chimney dehydrator - lightweight and portable.

Thanks in advance

-- spun@lright (, April 16, 1999.

Actually, appears to be offline at this moment:

13:46MDT Fri, 04/16/1999

Will the slide show be there when they go back up,

do you think? To quote one of the forum's most

diligent researchers,



PS - On a related note, Consider your appropriate response

to realizing that "Everything you've been told was true was

told to you in order to condition you to someone else's

desired set of behaviors" How does this apply to your

present circumstance? Limit your answer to 300 words, 2

explicatives, and 5 actions.

-- Bruce Welker (, April 16, 1999.

Ok, It appears that the army site is still there, and so are the slides. I've read 'em. I'm not reassured. Apologies for the double spacing. Bruce

-- Bruce Welker (, April 16, 1999.

Thank you for your combined efforts to bring this information to the discussion page. Printing out the text is useful, as most of the slides are text only, but for those of you who are scanning around late at night, the full content and implications of the material here is not fully communicated by just the words.

If you go to the site itself, you can see which sentences, etc., are titles, and which are adjacent points to a larger point. The graphics of the printing itself helps with the communication.

Most important are slides 23-26. (see above)

Especially # 25. Public education: The Message is the title of that slide. The "Message" which is in four points (you break it down) is exactly what we are hearing now, and goes all the way back to Janet Abrams remarks to that Italian newsgroup, and what Koskinem has said also "Don't panic the people by telling them the truth."

This slide presentation is not really for public consumption. It is meant for downloading for presentation by Army 2nd Lt's & Captains to other Army personnel. It is on the internet because this way it is accessible to Army bases all over the world.

The Army has no reason to "spin" what it says to its members internally. As the wife of a retired officer, with two active duty officers among our children, I can tell you that there's lots and lots of "stuff" the Army does not make public information. Civilians just don't 'need to know."

So if this is what the Army is telling other Army personnel, I think you can take it as a truthful presentation of facts as they are currently known.

It's like what someone said on another thread, if the prognosis of things were moderately to very good, Clinton and other govenrnment folk would be telling us so....but they cannot tell us if things are to be moderately to very bad, therefore "The Message."

-- Louisa (, April 16, 1999.

Louisa -- very astute point about the fearless leader. Aside from his "Social Security is fixed" stuff, it's total dead silence from Slick and Algore. Duh.

-- BigDog (, April 16, 1999.

Here's what Rick Cowles had to say about this:


"Interesting reading.

I think it's a foregone conclusion that, given the intelligence network available to the U.S. government, there's information regarding Y2k to which we'll never be privvy. In that respect, I suppose it's kind of like hoping the Pope will reveal the Third Secret of Fatima, or expecting that any of us will be presented with the Rosetta Stone of Y2k with which to read through all of the corporate and governmental Y2k mumbo jumbo.

There's enough shreds of evidence, however, to lead anyone to believe that someone else in high places knows something you don't. This document regarding the electric industry and Y2k is just one of many bits and pieces of such datum.

It's kind of a schizophrenic document, in my view. For example, CNA predicts "It is unlikely that we will know what will happen to electric power until we experience the Y2K transition..." (page 23), but rather than offer any solutions or advice for the Army to prepare for any unforeseen Y2k power difficulties, goes off on a tangent about public preparedness and reaction! (pages 24, and 25).

I'm sure there were many holes that were filled in during the actual presentation. It's kind of hard to dissect intent from the Powerpoint presentation alone. Never the less, it's a very interesting document.

Oh, and for those who wonder who CNA is:

CNA is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) sponsored by the Department of the Navy. For more than 50 years, CNA has conducted research and analysis that have helped the Navy and Marine Corps become more effective and efficient. CNA conducts analyses for other Department of Defense and non-Defense clients whose needs fall within CNA's mission as an FFRDC.

-- Rick Cowles (, April 16, 1999. "

-- FM (, April 16, 1999.

For those who can't access the slides on the Army's web site, I have copied them to my server at:

Henry Griner, Regional Director, The Joseph Project 2000

The Year 2000 Problem is not The End of the World! Replace fear with Faith & panic with a Plan

-- Henry Griner (, April 16, 1999.

There is a whole lot more on that site. I went to the first bullitin they published on March 17,1997. Here is a link I found for product compliance that they said [again on March 17,1997] they would update. I am still looking around....

-- J (, April 16, 1999.

Considering that the public has been demanding that the government do something for every single problem in their lives for years and years, why are you so surprised that the government is now saying, "Don't worry we will take care of you."

We who have prepared don't want or need their help. But there are millions out there who haven't a clue about Y2K, and many who have heard of Y2K and don't believe a thing will happen. Finally there are those who still say, "The government wil take care of it-me-us," or "Bill Gates will fix it," or "I'll go to my sister's if it's really true." And whether you believe it or not, there are those out there who would not prepare if the government sent a flyer to every single home in the U. S. with lists and detailed instructions for preparation.

Frankly I'd much rather have the government deal with the great hoardes that haven't prepared, than have them preying on those of us who have kept themselves informed and are prepared whether or not they think it will happen.

-- Jean Scott (, April 17, 1999.

Jean Scott ( wrote:

"Frankly I'd much rather have the government deal with the great hoardes that haven't prepared, than have them preying on those of us who have kept themselves informed and are prepared whether or not they think it will happen."

Jean, there is logic with what you say. However, please sit down with paper and pencil, or at your puter, and list prep items and their cost. Keep it minimum, just food, water, shelter, emergency medical aid, storage, and acquisition & distribution logistics. Now take those ballpark amounts and costs, & personnel numbers it will take to administer, and multiply that by 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, & 12 months, then take each of those and multiply by 275M USA population.

Now do you see why their rhetoric stating that "they will take care of it" isn't at all realistic.

TEOTWAWKI is inevitable beyond the 3 day scenario, but if electricity isn't usable it could very well lead to TEOTW for a lot of people, organizations, and govts.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, April 17, 1999.

I bet this is the study that was alluding recently. He also posted a interesting DOD memo worth checking out

Sorry for the cold link - in a rush.

Strange days...

-- Luddite (~@~.~), April 18, 1999.

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