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1998-05-26 11:55:47


Embedded Chips: The Big Problem, Says Florida Power Official



This report from a y2k project director of a local Florida public utilities board confirms the existence of the embedded chip problem. What it does not confirm is that there is some way to fix it, all over North America, by 2000.

This is from the ORLANDO SENTINEL (May 25).

* * * * * * *

From fossil-fuel plants to nuclear-power units, the electronics embedded in the power controls have become a major concern for utilities -- even more of a concern than their business computer systems.

Already, some utilities are reporting plant failures during tests that simulate the year 2000 date rollover, said Pete Valdellon, year 2000 project coordinator for the Kissimmee Utilities Board.

``If something went wrong with our business software, there's nothing potentially catastrophic that could happen like it could with our embedded systems,'' he said. ``All I can say now is that we are working diligently on all systems to ... preclude any disruption of service.''

But some power outages throughout the country appear inevitable, experts say. How widespread they will be and how long they will last, only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the U.S. power industry digs in for the biggest engineering challenge in its history.

So far, it is difficult to issue a report card.

Recent figures indicate almost a third of the nation's utilities are lagging or have barely scratched the surface in addressing the year 2000 problem, according to a survey by the Gartner Group, a high-tech consulting firm.


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