Table Mountain Newsletter Report on the Y2k Seminar
Y2K meeting a Success!
On February 2, 1999, the Table Mountain Association sponsored a Y2K program which featured two speakers, Ron Carey, general manager of Poudre Valley REA and Kathy Garcia of the Boulder County Y2K Community Preparedness Group. Approximately 60 people attended the meeting and had the opportunity to ask questions about our power provider and the significance of the Y2K problem. The highlights of the presentations are summarized below.
Power Talk- Summary of Poudre Valley REA Ron Carey’s Presentation
Ron Carey spoke about the Rural Power Authority in general and how plans for the future will affect our area. He then followed with some information about utilities and Y2K.
The area that REA services reaches from the Wyoming border, east to the plains around Greeley and south to our small section. The main substation for this area is located at Dow Flats, with a back up substation in Hygiene. PVREA also has the ability to draw power from Public Service through an emergency feed located at the IBM plant on 63rd street. This area is engaged in a 2-3 year maintenance plan, which includes the rebuilding of power lines on Oxford and Nimbus Road, extensive tree trimming, and upgrades in service. The upgrade will be from a single phase to a three-phase service. The degree of maintenance and upgrades in this area is in response to growth and complaints about service.
Everyone in this area has experienced loss of power during a windstorm. When asked why this happens, Ron humorously stated that wind does not cause the power to go out. Rather, wind pushes tree limbs into power lines causing disruptions in power. He pointed out that homeowners want both to preserve trees and receive dependable service and PVREA tries to meet both objectives. Rather than shaving the branches back from power lines, which can promote suckering, the tree trimmers are moving towards a technique that shapes trees to a V around the wires.
Ron went on to assure residents that utilities are not late to recognize problems arising from the Y2K. Preparations for this event have been taken very seriously for some time. To appreciate our place in this situation one must know something about where we stand in relation to other Western utilities. PVREA buys power from Tri –State, which, like PVREA is a co-op with oil, coal, and hydroelectric generating plants from Wyoming to eastern Colorado. Colorado companies don’t depend on a lot of imported power and so have a high degree of confidence in the face of problems. However, the PVREA transmission grid is connected with the Platte River Power Authority, WAPA (Western Area Power Authority), PSC, Tri-State and is dependent on the stability of these operations.
How will utilities manage the Y2K situation? On April 4, 1999 and Sept. 9, 1999 the community response recovery system will be tested. It is believed that there maybe some vulnerability to Y2K problems on these dates because of how computers recognize dates in their programs. In addition, some power substations will have extra personnel and backup fail safe systems will be in place. Again, it is believed any problems that do arise will come from interconnectedness with the rest of the country.
Ron ended with the observation that luckily or unluckily, depending on how one looks at it; we are 19 hours from the International Date Line and will have that time to monitor the event before we are directly affected by it.
Y2K is about being prepared!
Y2K is about the interconnectedness of all systems including those that we use to get our basic needs - groceries, power, gasoline etc. Since computers are used in everything and microchips are embedded in all types of equipment, machinery, pumps and vehicles, the problem created by the Y2K bug could have either a significant or minimal impact. There may be a slow down in the services that we now get very quickly. Since it is not really known what will be the impact of Y2K, the point of preparing yourself and your community is that you will minimize the inconveniences or problems that you will need to deal with.
Many years ago, the Crestview Estates area was without power for several days due to a power delivery problem. Interruption of power service is not unknown in this area - so it is recommended that you take steps to make yourself self-sufficient for 2-3 day periods. Part of the preparation process is to determine what you need to do now, because it will be too late at the end of the year.
The following summary is just a small part of the information that Ms. Garcia presented. Further information can be obtained from the resources listed at the end of the article. Do an inventory of your home to determine items that need to be repaired or replaced (i.e., leaky doors and drafty windows). Does the house have a secondary heat source in case the power goes out? Do you have plenty of blankets, flashlights, warm clothing for the "house camping" that you may have to do. Have "no" power days with your kids - so they get use to the idea of living without power. In general you should have a 3 day supply of food and water. Remember to have "comfort foods" in the stash.
You need to prepare for both your family, and your community¾ which may be your immediate neighbors or a larger area such as a subdivision. Your community needs to know which persons have medical conditions that require special attention. Some persons may have special needs such as their medication requires refrigeration or they are on an oxygen delivery system which requires a pump. For people who require daily medication, get a 3 month supply from your doctor before the end of the year. If power outages occur, the home with the back-up generator needs to serve as the community refrigerator for medications. If we are lighting our houses with candles, we need to have a system to remind people to put them out at night.
The downside of becoming prepared is that you may get to really know your neighbors and have a really solid neighborhood. As part of this process, it was proposed that the Table Mountain Association could build a list of persons with special skills - who are the doctors, nurses, persons with first aid training, carpenters, plumbers, etc. in the area. This list would not be published, but would be kept by the Association and would be made available if needed. If you want to be included in this list, please call Kathy Lecce-Chong at 303-546-0591.
If you want to learn more about Y2K preparedness, the Boulder County Y2K group has opened an office in Crossroads Mall in Boulder and is offering classes free of charge. For information call 303-442-1016. The website is www.y2kboulder.com
Other recommended sources for information on Y2K
GAO’s information on government readines
Best source for info on electric utilities, Rick Cowles Electric Utilities and Y2k
The Wellspring of Y2K information: Peter deJager’s site: http://www.year2000.com
Best general clearing house on Y2K Information IDefense's Y2KToday
Best source for the healthcare industry RX2000 Solutions Institute:
(WWW ed note: Boulder Community Network also has a Y2K site at http://bcn.boulder.co.us/y2k/index.htm with a particular focus on support for non-profit organizations)