It was a 1996 posting by Martyn Emery of Corporation 2000 that first got me thinking about the power grid. He said the typical local power plant has 5,000 separate suppliers.
Now confirmation of his estimate (a bit low) comes from Australia.
Naturally, the source of this information -- an employee of a firm that sells y2k remediation services to power companies -- says there is still enough time to get this fixed.
Suuuuuure, there is.
Notice also what she says about Asia and international currency markets.
Notice also why she isn't willing to be a doomsday predicter: such talk turns people off. (It also keeps them from writing "fix it" checks to her employer.)
Are you turned off by such predictions? Then you had better stop visiting my Website.
This appeared in THE AUSTRALIAN (March 2).
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THERE are more than 6000 critical elements involved in the production and distribution of electricity that could potentially be affected by the millennium bug, says Susan Thomas, the worldwide director of Unisys' millennium bug remediation program.
With Auckland's power blackout showing just how critical electricity is to a modern economy, Ms Thomas says the millennium bug problem, if unchecked, will have the same kind of impact on power generation and distribution systems.
She says the 6000 items identified as critical do not necessarily mean failure of all 6000, but there is potential for some losses.
"On a rule of thumb the failure rate may vary, at the high end, between 8 per cent to 11 per cent of the 6000 or, at the low end of expectations, between 1 to 2 per cent.
"The challenge is finding and testing which of those 6000 is going to fail."
Ms Thomas says the 6000 figure was derived from one of Unisys' power utility clients.
She says there is still enough time to overcome the problem, given the right amount of resource allocation, but concedes it will be a major task. . . .
Ms Thomas, a former computer programmer who admits contributing to the problem during her career, says she is careful not to portray the millennium issue in doomsday terms, as people switch off when hearing such scenarios.
However, she warns there is still a big gap between awareness of the millennium bug – given the large number of governments and corporations still at the planning stage – and the mobilisation of resources to combat the problem.
Ms Thomas says the lack of preparedness in Asia, outside of Japan, is of outmost concern. . . .
Ms Thomas point outs that with 30 per cent of all foreign exchange trading worldwide taking place in Asia, there is the potential for wide-scale disruption on currency markets because of the problem.
She says the interdependence of economies means that no company can say that it is 100 per cent compliant.