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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Power_Grid

Date: 

1997-12-10 23:03:46

Subject: 

Embedded Chips Shut Down Plant for 13 Days

Comment: 

This is really grim, if true. I think it sounds true.

Two power plants were tested for 2000-compliance. They failed three times from three different chip failures. The third failure would have created a grid-wide problem. It took 13 days to fix these plants..

In 2000, this could become a universal problem. Many plants will shut down. Where will they buy replacement chips? Where will users be getting their power in the meantime?

We are interdependent. We are vulnerable. When the public at last finds out how vulnerable, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

* * * * * *

From: Roleigh Martin Subject: Re: Embedded Systems: Diatribe and Rant: example

I have a great example here; it is being told by a Vice President of an engineering consulting firm who gave it at a speech to a group of utilities meeting with the firm, along with an industry association research group, talking about upgrading utilities' hardware to be Y2k compliant. I am unable to reveal exact names here because the submitter of these notes does not want it publicly known that he did so. I am only one person removed from the named speaker of these notes. To avoid even a potential law suit, I am removing the name of the city.

This quote is taken from the notes of one of the engineers who attended the meeting. I repeat, the quote below is not that of the engineering firm vice president. It is notes made of what the vice president said in his speech. Again, these are not my notes. . . .

3. In the testing of two [name of city snipped] coal-fire power plants (which were currently off-line and being used as "hot spares") for year 2000 compliance, the clocks were simultaneously rolled over to the year 2000, causing immediate plant failure. In an attempt to better understand the failure, the roll over test was repeated. In the second test, the plants again failed, but a different embedded controller was determined to be at fault. The roll over test was repeated a third time in hopes of replicating one of the previous failures. In this test, the plants failed from yet a different embedded controller. It was determined that this last failure would have caused a grid-wide failure had the plants been on-line. It took 13 days in order to restore the plants to working condition from the last failure.


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