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1998-06-15 08:24:18


Britian's Public Utilities Call for Emergency Plans



Great Britain is way ahead of the rest of the world with respect to contingency plans. It doesn't have any, but at least bureaucrats are willing to admit that they are needed.

This is from COMPUTERWEEKLY (June 11). [Registration is required.]

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The UK's water, energy and phone companies are urging the Government to resurrect world war-style emergency information broadcasts to deal with potential millennium bug crises. The utilities are concerned that they could be inundated with telephone calls from anxious customers unless mechanisms for informing the public of any disruption to services are put in place.

BT is leading the call for emergency television and radio commercials. It has already had initial discussions about the broadcasts with Action 2000, and with water, gas and electricity companies. BT is concerned that its telephone network may be put under pressure by callers.

"The first thing people do when there is a problem is dial 100 and ask us what's going on. It doesn't matter whether the problem is a telephone problem or simply bad weather," said Mili Lewis, corporate relations manager for the telecoms giant's year 2000 project.

BT is putting together its own contingency plans to take on extra staff to field queries in the first few weeks of the millennium.


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