The Great Disconnect ?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I have been meaning to bring this up but have been very busy lately.
We have been seeing some stories about pipelines shutting down, airlines cutting back flights, stores closing that are normally open and now I have personally heard several people say their companies will be doing "The Great Disconnect" from the world before, during and slightly after the rollover.
I talked to a owner of a small plastics company, they make toy parts for small companies. This company will shut everything down late on 1/31/99 and turn off all breakers and do a full disconnect from power. Armed guards will be in the plant for the rollover because of no alarms. Another small company that does web hosting will power down and disconnect from 10pm to 2am on the rollover. We are even thinking of disconnecting everything from 11pm to 1am, as we are normally on 24/7.
Anyone ever wonder if much more will be turned off, even if only for a short period of time. A rumor got started that our power company might turn off some substations here during the rollover but it was quashed. Still it seems reasonable that the electric companies might blackout some places "just in case" right around the rollover, whatever hour it is for them.
I think "The Great Disconnect" will be a reality. It doesnt mean its going to stay disconnected, but I think to be prudent alot of companies, organizations and homeowners are likely to shutdown everything right around the rollover.
-- hamster (email@example.com), November 19, 1999
The company I work for will go Off Line on Dec 28 and will not restart till 01-04-00. Too light a load on the grid can cause its own problems...
-- Helium (Heliumavid@yahoo.com), November 19, 1999.
the college i go to is shutting down all computers between Dec18 and Jan 10
-- terry (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 19, 1999.
"lightly loaded power lines have their own problems?????" Only if you're a graduate of "Wattsa Matta U."
-- red kilowatt (email@example.com), November 19, 1999.
I'm a builder, and my heat pump contractor recommends that we turn off all circuits in the house except a couple of light circuits to protect computers, heaters, refridgerators, anything else with a motor (e.g. water pumps). Then turn them back on in the morning, if possible.
Of course, this might cause power co. problems as well, I suppose.
-- Al K. Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 19, 1999.
We always shut down over new year's...
-- Mad Monk (email@example.com), November 19, 1999.
Many US Firms Keeping Their Guard Up Over Y2KTechnology: Official reassurances aren't deterring them from contingency plans and risk-avoidance measures.
By ASHLEY DUNN, Times Staff Writer
LA Times, Nov 18, 1999
Despite official assurances that there is nothing to fear from the year 2000 computer problem, unusual precautions are being taken by businesses that underscore their continuing uncertainty over the potential for a great glitch.
Although hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent to repair Y2K problems in computer systems around the world, few companies or agencies are letting down their guard as the new year looms.
Even for companies that have long ago finished repairing and testing their systems, there still remains an uncertainty about Y2K because of wild cards outside their control. The problem is a basic disconnect between what companies actually know about their own repair work and what they don't know about everyone else around them.
Large-scale risk avoidance is apparent around the country. Consider that:
* In Institute, W. Va., chemical giant Rhone-Poulenc has decided to stop production of methyl isocyanate--the chemical involved in the fatal 1984 incident in Bhopal, India--a week before the new year.
Major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, will start their presses earlier than normal on Dec. 31 and plan to get delivery trucks on the road in advance of any snafus that could tie up local roads.
Given the tightly woven web of dependencies that make up modern business, from just-in-time delivery to outsourcing, a major corporation may rely on hundreds or thousands of suppliers to do business. And these complex dependencies are the biggest unknown in the Y2K issue.
Indeed, according to a survey of nearly 1,000 companies last month by CIO magazine, only about half said that their suppliers were ready for the year 2000.
Bruce McConnell, director of the United Nations' International Year 2000 Cooperation Center, said that small computer failures will inevitably occur after Jan. 1 and these may accumulate in the weeks that follow. "I don't see the year 2000 causing big outages, but over a period of days and weeks, some systems just won't work as well," he said. "It's impossible to predict what will happen, but it could be like a lingering fever."
John Ogens, director of the year 2000 program for Monsanto Co., said his company, like many others, will pause some operations in the period around New Year's Day.
His biggest concern is the possibility of a power outage. Even though Monsanto has completed all its Y2K repairs and is confident of its local utilities, there is still the possibility that power problems rippling across the electrical grid could damage equipment or create other unsafe situations.
"We don't have a high level of concern, but there are no guarantees," he said. "So we're just going to go the extra step and go into pause mode."
Ogens said that only six to eight Monsanto facilities will halt their operations, such as one of the company's herbicide plants in Muscatine, Iowa. There, production of its Roundup weedkiller product will stop eight hours before midnight and will not start up again until eight hours after midnight.
"This is just an extra hedge against a possible utility problem," Ogens said.
John Abrams of Rhone-Poulenc said his company's decision to idle its methyl isocyanate plant was also made in part to ease concerns in the surrounding community about potential problems.
Its West Virginia plant will shut down a week before New Year's Day and then slowly be brought back into service over several days.
"You're dealing with hazardous material so you want to go the extra mile," he said. "We want the community to feel safe."
Denver-based Frontier Airlines is suspending 52 domestic flights on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, largely because of low bookings but also to avoid unknown risks.
Frontier official Elise Eberwein said power disruptions at an airport, problems with fuel suppliers or malfunctions in outside computer systems are all possibilities that could cause problems for the airline.
"Ninety percent of these cancellations are just because of lack of bookings," she said. "But there are concerns about year 2000, since we are so dependent on third-party suppliers."
Safety is only one concern.
Eric Trapp, year 2000 program manager for Southern California Edison, said that the Y2K issue is so touchy that any power problems on New Year's Day could set off a panic--even if the problems were caused by something as mundane as a winter storm or a downed power pole.
"People would just assume it is a year 2000 problem," Trapp said. "They could think, 'Uh-oh, this is the nationwide blackout that all the doom-and-gloomers are predicting.' "
Major utilities have agreed to have extra power available and to reduce the exchange of power across networks to make sure local problems will not be able to become regional ones. Their efforts will be aided by the fact that winter is one of the lowest periods of electric power usage.
But even with these precautions, Trapp said Southern California Edison will deploy 800 extra workers to make sure it can solve any problem quickly.
"We want to be super effective because of the public perception," he said.
For all the preparations, the biggest unknown in the equation is not technological, but rather human. Panic, fear or even excessive exuberance could threaten the most thorough of contingency plans.
Phone company GTE Corp., along with most other major carriers, has been mailing out a message with its monthly bills asking its 16 million customers not to pick up the phone at the stroke of midnight. The company expects one of the heaviest calling loads ever.
"The nation's phone system is just not designed for everyone in Southern California to pick up the phone at the same time," said GTE spokesman Bill Kula.
Copyright 1999 LA Times
-- LA Times reader (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 19, 1999.
We will shut down and go off the grid a couple of hours ahead of time, and go onto the generator. We will stay on that until we can't hold our eyes open any longer watching TV. Our two sentry lights are not on our meter but come straight off the transformer/grid. So if they go out we will know that the grid is down... or at least our part of it. Otherwise we wouldn't know! Taz
-- Taz (Tassie123@aol.com), November 19, 1999.
Doesn't it take twice as much electricity to get a device going than to keep it on? Seems like if enough big electric users disconnect and then come on at the same time, it would overload the whole system.
There's also the scenario of the 24/7 plant that's been that way for 10 years. Turning it off to avoid problems may cause more problems than leaving it on. Plus, don't some time sensitive systems ONLY check the date on bootup, whereas if they didn't have to boot up the date would not have been checked and everything would be fine.
I don't understand what it accomplishes to turn everything off. Seems like it's asking for MORE problems. But then, hey, it seems failure is inevitable no matter what is done--Humans and Nature seem to need this periodically to restructure the ol' universal agenda...
-- Boydroid (email@example.com), November 20, 1999.