Y2K-Are We Prepared?

As I sat down at my computer and began writing this column, I realized that this would be the last issue of Utility Automation in the 20th century. Some would say the last issue of the millennium-even though technically, the year 2000 is the last year of the millennium. Nevertheless, the change from 1999 to 2000 is a monumental event, one that has prompted many predictions about what will happen when the clock strikes midnight.

If the most extreme predictions are true, Y2K preparation has been a waste of time and money, because the world is going to end. Other, only somewhat less extreme predictions declare that all the comforts we now take for granted, such as clean running water, electric lights and appliances, and adequately stocked grocery store shelves will cease to exist. Many people believe we are about to find ourselves in a world of chaos.

If you’re reading this column, you could be doomed because you are apparently in your home or office and have elected not to take refuge in a cave or bunker stocked with clean water, gold bricks (purchased with money you obtained by liquidating all your investments), Coleman lanterns and firearms.

There is a good chance, however, that you have made some preparation for Y2K, but not by stockpiling supplies and buying gold bricks. Instead, you’ve most likely been one of the thousands who have spent hours making sure the rest of the population continues to use and enjoy all the necessities and luxuries made possible by electricity, even after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

It is unfortunate that few people will recognize or appreciate all the money and time that has been spent to ensure our electrical service is not interrupted when we ring in 2000. It is also unfortunate that if a service interruption is experienced, the electric utility will no doubt be heavily criticized.

However, for many years, electric utilities have had to contend with this type of treatment, and even so, have consistently provided reliable service to their customers-sometimes under extremely difficult circumstances.

I predict that this reliable service will continue in the early morning hours of January 1, 2000, and well into the next millennium. So, to those of you who have worked so hard these last few months, and may very well be working while the rest of the world ushers in 2000 in style, I want to thank you. It is your hard work and preparation that has given me the confidence to make such a prediction. I also want you to know that I look forward to working with you and providing you with worthwhile industry information well into the new millennium.

In The American Heritage dictionary, one definition of millennium is a hoped-for period of joy, serenity, prosperity and justice. May the year 2000 be the beginning of such a millennium.

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