Re: Y2K and electric power industry (long)
Sun, 06 Sep 1998 22:55:46 -0400

Jim Whitehead wrote:
> Bottom line: It's too early to tell, but the picture should be much more
> clear by the end of Q1 1999, since initial reports from remediation efforts
> should start tricking in by then if all is going well.

Too early to tell, but not too early to prepare.

> But, while the
> electric power industry appears like it will go through the transition OK,
> they make experience problems soon thereafter due to disruptions in the fuel
> delivery systems.

Not too sure about that (the industry transitioning properly). If you
had a business that loads of people depended upon, and you knew that
you were going to crash & burn in less than 500 days, would you tell
people? If your raise, options & bonus depended upon good news? If you
were planning on being long gone before TSHTF ??

> Plus, smaller electric utilities may not transition OK,
> resulting in loss of power in covered areas. Plenty of cause for concern,
> but it is unlikely to cause the end of civilization in the US. Prudent

No, loss of power will not cause the end of civilisation. However we all
remember recent riots in poorer sections of major cities because of an
unpopular verdict. I lived through the Miami riots caused when an
officer shot a criminal. The members of the criminals race felt it was
unfair, and lodged their protest by stealing everything not nailed down,
then burning down their Gov't subsidised housing. I'll never forget
watching news coverage of a looter running out of a smoking convenience
store after the Rodney King riots, arms full of T.P. and other "free"
toiletries and personal products, and proclaiming to the camera
"Remember Dr. King!" I'm sure Martin was *so* proud, wherever he is.
There is an element of our society always looking for an excuse. I'm
afraid the news media alone (forget crashing stocks, runs on banks, ATMs
not dispensing cash, subway not running,etc.) could whip them into a
frenzy, such that, if the power goes out for 15 minutes at midnight, the
looting will start. How about if it's out for 2 days, all refrigerated
food goes bad. How will Johnny make it to school without his frozen
waffles? His cereal pre-packaged with a milk box? His Florida(tm) Orange
Juice? When people are hungry, they do desperate stupid things. I'm not
taking chances.

> preparation steps, such as ensuring an off-grid supply of heat in colder
> areas, and good stocks of basic emergency prep. supplies, such as batteries,
> food, and water, are unlikely to be needed in cities, but are a low-cost
> hedge against what appears to be an uncertain date transition.

Exactly. I've already got dried food, bottled water, propane & ammo
stockpiled, and will have much more by next Sept. Anyone know the exp.
date on a pkg. of Ramen? Maybe I won't need any of it (I sure hope
so), but I'd rather have it and not need it. It's all stuff I'll use
eventually. I just don't want to be caught unprepared, if the "worst"
scenarios I've read/heard come true. My wife/daughter/dog & I will have
enough to be self-sufficient for 6 months.

> - Jim

Jay. Looking forward to New Years 2K in a cabin in N.H. :)