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Spokesman says drill proves power company Y2K compliant

September 08, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

A 21-hour Y2K drill designed to end this morning has increased Allegheny Power's conviction that it is prepared for any problems that could occur on New Year's Day, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"We are still very confident and getting more confident all the time," said spokesman Todd Myers.

The test ran smoothly through Wednesday night, he said.

The company, like most utility companies, had announced it was prepared for any problems that may occur on Jan. 1, 2000. Some believe there will be trouble on that day because date-sensitive computer software and hardware may think it is 1900, not 2000.

"Because of the drill we can better form and refine our contingency plans as part of our preparation," Myers said.

The company, which has 1.4 million customers, also had a Y2K drill on April 9. Both simulated the loss of communication systems in some of the company's service areas.

Wednesday's industrywide drill was part of the North American Electric Reliability Council's coordinated effort to ensure millennium preparedness among electric power providers.

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About 135 people were involved in the drill, which began at 8 a.m. Wednesday and was to end at 5 a.m. today.

Employees who will be working Jan. 1, 2000, participated in the drill and performed tasks they might do only in unusual circumstances, Myers said. The company also will have increased staffing on that day.

The drill was spread over two days in part because of some concern that computers would have problems with the date "9/9/99," Myers said.

As part of the drill, employees used satellite phones and two-way radios to stay in communication with others within the company and with other utility companies, he said.

Allegheny Power is spending up to $20 million to prepare for the year 2000, according to Myers, who said about 500 employees have devoted 80,000 employee hours to the project.

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