The Southern Company, the vast conglomerarte that supplies electricity to the Southeast U.S., says that the company is on schedule. This is another phrase for "not yet compliant." But they'll make it, they promise.
What if smaler power-generating companies fail to make the deadline? Will the grid survive? Maybe not. Nobody really knows.
That's the problem. Every organization is dependent on noncompliant organizations. Everyone must be compliant for anyone to be compliant.
This is a systemic problem. It cannot be fixed.
This is from the ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE (May 18).
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Don't expect the lights to go out in Georgia the night of Dec. 31, 1999.
But power outages could occur later in 2000.
Southern Co., the Atlanta-based holding company of Georgia Power Co. and other Southeastern electric power utilities, says it is on schedule to fix computers that control power plants. But smaller power utilities could spoil Southern's good planning, say experts on the problem often called Y2K. . . .
Southern Co. has budgeted $85.6 million toward its Y2K efforts, with plans to spend $60 million in 1998. Last year, Southern spent $8 million on Y2K. . . .
"You won't see blackouts or brown-outs," said McClure, a 30-year veteran of Southern Co. The most likely problem would be that some plants would run less efficiently than normal. More probable, McClure said, is that Southern Co. will be in a position to provide power to utilities that are crippled by Y2K problems. . . .
Small utilities' big effect
Power outages could result in Georgia, however, from smaller electric companies not getting Y2K compliant in time, according to Jim Jones of the Atlanta-based Information Management Forum.
"The main concern is not with large utilities like Southern Co., but with smaller ones that are still on the grid," Jones said. "Smaller utilities could suffer outages that could cause a domino effect."
One of the smaller electric utilities in Georgia, Oglethorpe Power Corp., feels it has a good handle on the situation. Oglethorpe has budgeted $750,000 for Y2K compliance and so far has spent 75 percent of that figure, said spokesperson Greg Jones. Oglethorpe began assessment of its Y2K needs last September and expects to complete testing by the end of 1998.
"We're very confident there will not be any disruption in service to our customers," Greg Jones said. "We believe we are ahead of a lot of companies." . . .
"Nuclear plants are a lot more complex and have more documentation to complete," Jones said.
Southern Co. operates only three nuclear plants, representing less than 20 percent of its total output, compared with 28 coal-fired plants.