August 2016 Powerlines

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2 AEC celebrates 50 years of service to its membership. Construction begins on the McWilliams Plant repowering that includes the addition of a 107-megawatt combustion turbine and major modifications to the steam generation facilities. Two 120-megawatt gas-fired combustion turbines are added at the McIntosh plant site. Construction begins on the Vann Plant, a 595-megawatt combined cycle plant adjacent to the McWilliams Power Plant in Gantt. The plant is declared commercial in 2002. AEC initiates Green Power Choice, a retail green power program. AEC also begins construction of a $300 million Air Quality Control project at Plant Lowman to bring the plant into compliance with new EPA standards. As Y2K drew near, the world was in a panic. Well, maybe not the whole world. On Nov. 18, 1999, a Department of Energy report deemed AEC and its members "Y2K-Ready." In April and September 1999, AEC and other power suppliers nationwide ran drills simulating partial loss of voice and data communications that could occur in the transition to 2000. AEC found only minor problems. Bulk Power Services Manager David Tarpley, then Supervisor of EMS and Applications, served on the Drill Design Team and spearheaded replacing AEC's Energy Management System, which went online Oct. 21, 1999. Upgrades and patches of Lowman's control systems made them Y2K-ready. For other plant systems, Lowman employees found a clever, inexpensive fix—rolling the systems back 10 years during a scheduled maintenance. "We saved a lot of money, and it got us through that midnight hour," said Lowman Technical Services Superintendent Scott Chastain, who served on AEC's Y2K Committee. AEC also upgraded McIntosh Power Plant's Unit 1 control system, so all AEC's mission critical systems were ready for Jan. 1. A backup computer program was in place so employees could calculate the system's numbers manually on a laptop if the primary computer system crashed. Network Support and Security Supervisor Mark Dayton developed the program in the early 1990s. Dayton spent New Year's Eve at AEC. "We devoted a lot of time and effort preparing for Y2K," he said. "That night, we wondered if it was even necessary for us to be at work. At midnight, there was no chaos, no scrambling around. We were sitting around a table, waiting to see if anybody called." Tarpley was also on site New Year's Eve. "The system was thoroughly tested," Tarpley said. "We crossed every 'T' and dotted every 'I.'" Their composure was justified. "Not a thing happened," said Energy Control Center Manager Tim Hattaway. "It was a big non-event." 1991 1995 TIMES OF CHANGE 1998 1999 2006 Retired Senior Systems Analyst Jimmy Eiland holds a newspaper he brought back from China. As a Y2K Task Force Representative, Eiland attended a conference in Hong Kong to learn about preparing the cooperative for risks associated with Y2K. Like it's 1999: Preparations ensured Y2K a 'big non-event' for AEC

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