Y2K Drill by Natural Gas Suppliers in Western U.S. and Canada

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Tuesday August 24, 5:43 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

2K Drill by Natural Gas Suppliers in Western U.S. and Canada Successfully Tests Backup Communications Systems

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 24, 1999--Results of a Year 2000 (Y2K) drill carried out today by Sempra Energy and seven other natural gas supply firms in the western United States and Canada demonstrate that backup communications systems are ready to be activated.

That will happen if primary voice and data communications systems fail for any reason -- Y2K or otherwise.

Sempra Energy is the parent company of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which together provide natural gas service to 21 million consumers in central and Southern California.

Other firms that took part in today's drill included: BC Gas of British Columbia, Canada; El Paso Natural Gas Co. of El Paso, Texas; Pacific Gas and Electric Co.(PG&E) and PG&E Gas Transmission, two separate businesses owned by PG&E Corp. of San Francisco; TransCanada Pipelines Limited; Transwestern Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Enron Corp. of Houston; and Williams Gas Pipeline West, of Salt Lake City.

``This drill shows that our backup communications -- employing satellite and cellular technology, as well as manual bypass procedures -- are in place and ready to go, if there are any problems with the primary systems,'' said Steve Malowney, manager of Sempra Energy's Y2K Program.

``Although we carried out this drill as part of our Y2K readiness efforts, the same contingency communications plans we've implemented can be activated for any crisis or natural disaster, such as an earthquake,'' said Mike Forster, project manager for Gas Operations at SoCalGas.

The three-hour drill simulated problems with communications systems operated by natural gas suppliers, transmission and utility companies. It did not simulate Y2K-related problems.

The drill lasted from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. PDT. During the drill, representatives of the eight firms exchanged information about the flow, volume and pressure of natural gas supplies moving through major natural gas pipelines in the western U.S. and Canada. The drill did not affect service to natural gas customers.

The Y2K concerns center around the fact that many automated systems use two digits to store the year portion of a date, such as ``99'' for 1999. In such cases, the year 2000 may get recorded as the year ``00,'' causing problems such as equipment malfunctions or the use of incorrect dates, if the date mechanism is not corrected.

Additional information on Y2K efforts by Sempra Energy, SoCalGas and SDG&E is available on the Web sites for those companies: www.sempra.com, www.socalgas/y2k.c

-- lurking (here@home.now), August 25, 1999


Thanks, Lurking. I should have read the headline, "suppliers," more carefully in the first place! I was looking for my local "provider," Atco, which obviously did not take part in the exercise.

As with the electricity drill in early April, it appears this was just a communications exercise. No testing of embeddeds.

A couple of months ago an Atco guy told me their entire staff will be working/on call during the rollover. "Don't know what good that will do," he said. "There are only 40 of us!" (For a city of a million people.)

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), August 25, 1999.

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