Article: "PNM [Albuquerque]: Brief Y2K Outages Possible"greenspun.com : LUSENET : Electric Utilities and Y2K : One Thread
Interesting article about electricity in Albuquerque NM.
Link is: http://www.abqjournal.com/news/2news03-11.htm
Thursday, March 11, 1999 PNM: Brief Y2K Outages Possible Utility Urging Customers To Safeguard Electronics on Jan. 1
By John J. Lumpkin Journal Staff Writer
Expect power surges and possibly a few hours without lights on the morning of Jan. 1, 2000, but extended outages caused by the Y2K computer problem are unlikely. That message was delivered Wednesday to the city's Millennium Committee by a Public Service Company of New Mexico official. While Scott Witschger, PNM's year 2000 program director, didn't promise the lights would stay on uninterrupted after the turn of the century, he said PNM is doing all it can -- including spending $20 million -- to resolve its end of the Y2K computer problem.
He did advise people to buy surge protectors or unplug sensitive electronics, like home computers, to avoid damage from power fluctuations.
On New Year's Eve, PNM will have crews ready to operate its entire power system manually, if need be, Witschger said. He said the same will be done for its natural gas distribution operation.
Both of PNM's in-state power plants -- the San Juan coal plant near Farmington and the Reeves Generating Station, a natural gas plant in Albuquerque -- will be on-line, something usually done only during peak usage months in the summer.
About 47 percent of PNM's identified, Y2K noncompliant systems were repaired by the end of February, Witschger said. PNM plans to have all of its systems compliant by July 2, he added. Nevertheless, Witschger said there's a "high probability" of frequency or voltage variations for at least a few hours after midnight, Dec. 31.
These would come as PNM's heaviest consumers, such as manufacturing plants, deal with their own Y2K problems and shut down or reset their systems. Such large changes in power consumption on the grid could cause voltage drops or spikes elsewhere.
The only danger from these fluctuations are to sensitive equipment, including computers and other electronics. Witschger said surge protectors should prevent any damage -- as would simply unplugging the equipment.
He said there's a "moderate" likelihood of power outages lasting from one to three hours, especially if automated systems fail and crews have to operate power plants and distribution centers manually. There's a "low probability" of power outages lasting up to 24 hours, and that's if "absolutely everything goes wrong," he said.
The San Juan plant gets its coal from a nearby mine, so it isn't reliant on railroad transport from out-of-state mines, he said. The plant also has a 30-day supply of coal ready for burning, as well. Almost all of New Mexico is part of a power grid that encompasses the Western United States and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. PNM can contribute to or draw power from that grid if necessary, Witschger said.
However, if other electric utilities fail because of Y2K and start to drain PNM's system, PNM can cut itself off from the regional grid and go on its own. PNM's in-state power plants supply enough juice for its customers during the winter months, but, in the summer, electricity is usually drawn from the Palo Verde nuclear plant outside of Phoenix.
-- Anonymous, March 11, 1999