Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Lubbock Readies for Y2K Challenge

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Lubbock Readies for Y2K Challenge

Article excerpt

It's true that some things are bigger and better in Texas. The city of Lubbock faces a bigger challenge than most with Year 2000 compliance because along with traditional city services, it owns an electric utility company. And in order to meet that challenge, the city is developing a better Y2K plan.

"In addition to guarding the public health and safety of our citizens, we want to make sure the lights don't go out on January 1, 2000," said first assistant city manager Debra Fort,.

City manager Bob Cass added, "We're planning to spend New Year's Eve 1999 in our Emergency Operations Center."

Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L), the city-owned electric utility, serves about 65 percent of the meters in Lubbock. The remaining customers use an investor-owned utility, due to a unique dual-service arrangement. The two power companies buy and sell electricity between themselves as the need arises. "The intense heat wave in Texas this summer has caused some power challenges in the city," said Fort, "and we are acutely aware of how critical our Y2K compliance plans are."

Lubbock began working on Y2K compliance last year. By this June, every city department had identified and prioritized embedded chips in its equipment and interfaces with other affected entities. In May, a work team was formed with technical experts from LP&L, Water Utilities, the Radio Shop, Traffic Engineering, Information Technology and Legal.

"It's a common misconception that the Y2K problem affects only the computers," said Fort,. "Due to our departmental surveys, we now know exactly where the potential problems lie with embedded chips. We have to look at everything from traffic lights and gas pumps to police radios and office fax machines"

As potential problems are identified in current equipment, all new purchases made by the city must be Y2K compliant. …

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