Anticipating the Y2K bug |

Anticipating the Y2K bug

On the instant when the date changes to Jan. 1, 2000, special districts and government agencies in the Truckee area anticipate no problems with their own computer systems and electronic infrastructure.

The Y2K bug – so named because it will occur at the onset of the year 2000 – is an error caused when older computer systems using two-digit dates flip on Jan. 1, 2000 and believe the date is 1900.

Truckee-Donner Public Utility District, which supplies electricity and water to much of Truckee, is preparing for the change, and expects to have its systems all upgraded by June.

“As far as district in-house operations, computer systems and software, we have a new network which is fully Y2K compliant,” said TDPUD administrative manager Mary Chapman. “We have been working on it for the past two years.”

Software which the PUD uses to schedule electric purchases will be upgraded by the end of March. The computer software which controls the automatic operation of the district’s water pumps will be replaced by June with one which is Y2K compliant.

“As far as the national electric system, I have a few magazine articles that indicate there are not going to be any major problems,” Chapman said. “The National Electric Reliability Council has been monitoring the progress of electric utility readiness, and they are not expecting serious problems. They have a target date of June 30 for all electric utilities in North America to be Y2K compliant.”

Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation agency has almost finished its preparations for Y2K, and all of the agency’s software is ready for the next century.

“We’ve had all of our custom software changed to be Y2K compliant – accounts receivable, payroll, et cetera,” said administrative manager Marcia Beals of Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation agency. “We are checking all of our personal computers.”

Beals said the agency’s mainframe computer is relatively new and is already Y2K compliant.

“We’ve been working on Y2K for about the last 18 months,” she said.

Truckee Fire Protection District is also taking preemptive measure to avoid any problems with Y2K.

“We have consultants coming in next week to analyze our equipment,” said administrative assistant Joyce Engler. “As far as the actual fire district operations, there would be no impact on public service. Our dispatch is handled through Nevada County, and will be handled through Grass Valley in the future.” She said the computers to be checked are office workstations, and consultants will be conducting an intensive evaluation to make sure none have non-Y2K compliant components.

Officials with the Truckee Sanitary District have been working for some time to ensure all of the district’s computers and equipment will be Y2K compliant.

“We’re doing standard checks of equipment,” district mechanical engineer Bob Reese said. “We don’t have anything that we have major concerns about.” He said some software written in-house by the district eight to 10 years ago is already Y2K compliant.

Nevada County officials indicate that all of the county’s computer systems, including Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, will be Y2K compliant, but caution that some problems could arise with smaller businesses and with foreign countries. The county has formed a committee to address community planning for Y2K.

Truckee’s town government computer systems should not be affected, a town official said.

“We don’t have the issues that some of the larger organizations have,” said Truckee administrative services director Jill Olsen. “Our entire system is PC-based. We have none of the large mainframes used by larger government agencies.”

She said the town’s system administrator is examining all the computers in its offices to make sure they are all compliant.

Olsen said the town has received information from California’s Public Employees Retirement System, and said PERS is now Y2K compliant. She said the town has not heard back from its insurance company or fuel supplier in response to Y2K.

“The state is also Y2K compliant related to our investment funds,” Olsen said. “Our bank is also compliant.”

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