Utilities ready for Y2K

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— Yampa Valley electric consumers can feel free to keep the lights on this New Year's Eve. As Dec. 31 and the much talked about computer problems associated with the new millennium creep closer and closer, Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA) officals say they are prepared to maintain power to customers.

According to Jim Chappell, manager of consumer accounts, YVEA determined inside concerns, outdoor circumstances, and power supply were the three main areas that needed to be concentrated on to comply with Y2K. These areas have been tested and are Y2K ready, he said. Equipment has also been tested and those with time and date sensitivity have been modified and certified.

"I am 100% confident that consumers will have power on Jan. 1," Chappell said, "I am more worried about a blizzard than Y2K."

The North American Electrical Reliability Council, who determines whether a particular electrical grid is reliable, will test the Western grid in September and October. The council tested YVEA earlier this year and found no problems, and the upcoming tests should establish more confidence about electricity in the Yampa Valley.

Becoming Y2K compliant has been an ongoing project for YVEA. In 1997, the time-sensitive phone systems were replaced and in March of 1999, the billing system was overhauled. YVEA does not expect to experience any critical problems.

Chappell feels the Y2K problem will pass without issue. "I don't think this will be the doomsday it has been made out to be," he said.

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