European electric power industry said it expects "business as usual" when 2000 arrives and that it is working to identify and eliminate any remaining millennium bugs from those systems that are computerised, the Eurelectric lobby said in Brussels this week.
The statement followed a debate organised by Eurelectric and its partner organisation Unipede, on a paper that outlined progress and projects being conducted by member electric companies in the 15 EU member states and eight affiliated countries.
"The majority of fundamental electricity generation, transmission and distribution processes are based on classic electro mechanical technology and as such are not threatened by the 'Y2K computer problem'," it said.
"Some non critical systems have been computerised, but any problems here are unlikely to interfere with the provision of vital power supplies to social services, critical industry processes or basic national infrastructure," it continued.
The two lobbies have set up a working group of national Y2K project coordinators to monitor progress and exchange information on efforts in at least 23 countries, including via external auditing and certification of systems.
"The projects were all felt to have covered at least 80 per cent of the sector. These projects have taken into account the worst case scenarios which would allow for any minor disturbance from smaller companies that might be seen as vulnerable," it said.
While cross border interconnections are not computer controlled, the two lobbies are giving further attention to cross border integrated emergency plants.
Contingency measures will take account of reduced demand on 1 January, 2000, which is a public holiday and include distribution of reserve capacity to those transmission operators linked to the Trans European Synchronously Interconnected System to ensure back up, it said.
International Atomic Energy Agency is coordinating assistance to nuclear power plant operators in the east of Europe, though here again, technology is older generation and not reliant on microprocessors.
Most European Y2K projects have completed problem identification and are in the testing phase, leading to full completion and testing in the third quarter of the year, it said.
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