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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Power_Grid

Date: 

1998-06-12 18:25:48

Subject: 

Senate Hearings on Grid: Bordering on Gloom and Doom

  Link:

http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2554598441-32c

Comment: 

The mainstream media just took one giant step in my direction. I'll be mainstream by October 31, 1999. (No, not Halloween. Reformation Day.)

Senator Bennett's y2k Committee held hearings on June 12 on the power industry.

This is the Big One. This is what holds Western civilization together. It's looking very, very shaky.

No one is talking collapse. That would be more politically incorrect than saying that Bella Abzug is a loudmouth broad. But they are talking blackouts and brownouts.

What evidence has anyone offered that a series of simultaneous blackouts will not overload the grid? None. They just say it won't. ``Year 2000 poses the threat that common mode failures...or the coincident loss of multiple facilities could result in stressing the electric system to the point of a cascading outage over a large area,'' said Michehl Gent, president of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).

In short, "trust me." Notice the name of the organization: North American Electric Reliability Council. What was this employee to say? "Senators, I have just bought myself a 12 kilowatt diesel generator and 3,000 gallons of diesel. The whole system is going down."

Then the man in charge of the government agency that monitors the industry says nobody knows much of anything about what is happening.

How can you get logically from "nobody knows" to "trust me"?

Read this very slowly. Read it twice:

"Committee Chairman Robert Bennett said a survey his office sent to 10 of the nation's largest electric, oil and gas utilities showed their preparations to ward off year 2000 bugs were lagging. . . .

"Only two of the 10 utilities had finished an assessment of their automated systems, which is an early step in the preparation process, Bennett said. ``One firm did not even know how many lines of computer code it had,'' he said, and none had completed a Year 2000 contingency plan. . . ."

I shall be calm. I shall not act like a gloom and doomer. I shall conduct myself as a professional. I shall . . . ah, nuts to it. GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR!!!!!

This Reuters story is on INFOBEAT (June 12).

* * * * * * * *

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Utilities must work harder and faster to ward off the blackouts and glitches that appear virtually inevitable because of millennium computer bugs, a Senate panel warned the industry on Friday.

``Quite honestly, I think we're no longer at the point of asking whether or not there will be any power disruptions, but we are now forced to ask how severe the disruptions are going to be,'' Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said.

A special Senate panel on potential Year 2000 computer and microchip meltdowns focused its first hearing on electric utilities because, Dodd said, ``If we don't have power to generate electricity, everything else is moot.''

With 567 days to the next century, senators said prospects are slim of fixing the power grid's hundreds of millions of chips, microprocessors, computer programs and other technologies that will be stumped by the digits 00.

Committee Chairman Robert Bennett said a survey his office sent to 10 of the nation's largest electric, oil and gas utilities showed their preparations to ward off year 2000 bugs were lagging. . . .

Only two of the 10 utilities had finished an assessment of their automated systems, which is an early step in the preparation process, Bennett said. ``One firm did not even know how many lines of computer code it had,'' he said, and none had completed a Year 2000 contingency plan. . . .

``The state of Year 2000 readiness of the utility industry is largely unknown,'' Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair James Hoecker said. . . .

The head of an industry group formed in the late 1960s to try to ensure reliability of the nation's power grid said there was an ``extremely low'' chance for a widespread system failure.

``Year 2000 poses the threat that common mode failures...or the coincident loss of multiple facilities could result in stressing the electric system to the point of a cascading outage over a large area,'' said Michehl Gent, president of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).

``I must stress this possibility is extremely low, but conceivable,'' Gent said.

Link: 

http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2554598441-32c

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