Senator: Y2K power outage looms

An informal survey of 10 large utilities found that only two had completed a full assessment of the potential problems that might occur when their computers reach the year 2000, Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, chairman of the Special Senate Year 2000 Technology Problem Committee said Friday.

The survey also showed none of the utilities have gotten assurances from their suppliers and vendors that they had addressed the Y2K problem.

"I am genuinely concerned about the prospects of power shortages as a consequence of the millennial date change," Bennett said. He added the private sector is just beginning to realize the related year 2000 problems of faulty embedded computer chips and the industry's reliance on other entities that may not be prepared.

Bennett released the survey at the committee's first hearing while committee members laid out their future agenda.

Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Moler told the panel that the government must play a facilitating role in helping the private sector address its year 2000 problem, as it has been doing with an energy working group that includes DOE, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the industry's North American Electric Reliability Council.

"Let me emphasize thatthe federal government cannot solve this problem," she said. "It is up to the industry itself to do so."

FERC Chairman James Hoecker said the industry has yet to determine the impact of the year 2000 problem, in which computers read the last two digits of the year as 1900.

"Compilation of this information has been inadequate. Larger utilities and some industry associations have promoted awareness of year 2000 issues," Hoecker said. "The state of awareness and planning of small utilities and cooperatives is less certain."

Committee ranking member Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., urged both the government and industry to give the panel as much information as possible. "You need to put us on notice up here so we can be doing smart things legislatively," Dodd said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.