News Releases

Sierra Pacific Set to Demonstrate Y2K Readiness

Sep 6, 1999

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Bob Sagan/Faye I. Andersen
Phone: (775)834-4345

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Co. will participate in a nationwide Year 2000 (Y2k) readiness drill on September 8-9 as a rehearsal for the transition from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000. During the exercise, electric utilities across the country will simulate the operations, communications and contingency response plans they will employ during the transition to the Year 2000.

This is just a drill. No customers will be affected by this simulation.

"We're very proud of the fact that Sierra Pacific has been 100 percent Y2k ready since June 30, 1999," said Mark Ruelle, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Sierra Pacific."All of our electric, natural gas and water systems and the company's business systems have undergone testing and implementation to be ready when we switch over to the new year."

In June, the company's electric generating plants underwent special tests to turn the clocks forward to operate in the Y2k mode. The tests were successful and systems in the plants maintained operation as usual. The test demonstrated Sierra Pacific was five months ahead of its own schedule to be prepared for the start of the Year 2000.

During the late evening of September 8, extra staff will be brought in for the simulation and personnel will be stationed at key facilities, just as is planned for December 31. The simulation will last for approximately four hours and cross the critical midnight hour when Y2k readiness is crucial. The company's electric control center normally operates on a 24-hour basis, 365 days each year.

According to Ruelle, Sierra Pacific anticipates finding no problems during the simulation, but he welcomed the opportunity to test contingency plans the company has worked on for months. Sierra Pacific initiated upgrades to the company's computer systems beginning in 1996 to ensure there were no disruptions to electric, natural gas and water customers during the transition to the new year.

Sierra Pacific will be in contact during the simulation with other utility members of the Western System Coordinating Council (WSCC), a consortium of over 100 organizations that provide electric service to more than 65 million people in 14 U.S. Western states, two Canadian provinces and the northern part of one Mexican state. WSCC is the largest of 10 councils comprising the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). NERC works with the electric industry"to keep the lights on" by setting reliability standards for interconnected electric transmission system operations.

In addition to its own electric generating plants, Sierra Pacific can import and export electricity to serve customers over high voltage transmission lines, such as the Alturas transmission line, from neighboring utilities in California, Idaho and Utah.