Local News

Power Companies, RDU International Report All is Well

Posted December 30, 1999

— Electricity is running, ATMs are functioning properly and officials at RDU International say they the airport has passed all of its safety checks.

Hours after the clock turned from 1999 to 2000, officials say they are seeing no major problems related to the Y2K computer bug. UTILITIES

Carolina Power and Light,Duke Energy,Wake Electric, and theN.C. Electric Corporationreport no problems.

Just a few minutes after midnight, a count of the CP&L's 1.2 million customers showed just eight in the Siler City area without electricity. A blown transformer that went out before midnight accounted for most of the problems. Officials expected to have the problem fixed before morning.

CP&L had 1200 people working Friday evening and another 2500 on stand-by. Throughout Friday, the power company received less calls from customers than usual. Spokesman Keith Poston says the fact that there were no weather-related problems was a big help.

While people may still be concerned about possible loss of electrical power early Friday, CP&L said parts of Asia use the same equipment. That equipment functioned well as the calendar year rolled over in those countries, and the lack of problems was thought to be a good sign for the U.S.

"We have worked on this for five years," said CEO Bill Cavanaugh shortly after midnight, "And we had tested just about everything on our system and the tests worked, so it should've worked tonight, and it did."

CP&L says it will be on stand-by alert status for about another month, just incase any lingering problems that may arise later in the year.

Telephone companies have not reported any outages, and phones, pagers and cellular phones are working.

Telephone companies are warning about the possibility of communication overload and are encouraging people not to make calls on New Year's Day. While they are confident phone systems can withstand the year 2000 date change, they are not sure if the systems can support all of the expected calls.

Hospitals and other businesses, including,RDU International, report that all is well. AIR TRAVEL

Mike Blanton. a spokesperson at RDU says the airport passed all of its Y2K safety checks. Some small planes were landing after midnight.

"We start running a series of tests on our critical systems at 12:01," said Blanton. "Those include the airfield lighting system, heating and cooling systems, the 800 megahertz radio system and the security systems. We report those results to the FAA and their regional office in Atlanta."

Because U.S. air traffic systems are set to Greenwich mean time, airport officials said they were worried more at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time -- when it turned midnight Greenwich mean time. Once that passed without any problems, they say they were confident that there would not be any problems when after midnight. Still, about 20 planes landed at RDU Friday evening. SAFETY & SECURITY

Many local police departments out in full force New Year's Eve will continue their increased patrols into New Year's Day.

In Raleigh, thepolice department'spresence around the city is hard to miss.

A large Mobile Compass Station is set up on Millbrook Road, where it will cover north Raleigh's needs.

Since infrastructure is a big concern everywhere, the Raleigh Police Department has a contingent at the electric substation near West and Jones Streets in downtown Raleigh.

A slew of mailboxes were removed from the area around the state capitol, even though FedEx deposit boxes are holding their ground.

Raleigh police say they want to be as visible as possible through New Year's Day.

"We're mainly concerned with people feeling safe, and knowing that we are out here to help them if the need arises. Hopefully it won't. We have additional manpower working today and tomorrow -- matter of fact, throughout the weekend," says Sgt. David Brown.

In Fayetteville, 911 centers in both the city and county are fully staffed. Workers began getting Y2K calls from worried residents just after sundown.

On Friday, operators there said they did not expect any problems, but said they were ready for anything.

More police officers are patrolling Fayetteville streets than ever before looking for drunk drivers, criminals and Y2K problems.

"We've adjusted the shifts of the officers [to] give us better coverage," says Sgt. Charles Kimble. "We have more officers on the street during the crucial hours of the night. The officers will be prepared, and we're going to have officers on standby." andJohn McDonnellandDebra MorganandMichelle SingerandKelly Gardner

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