Testing backup communication systems between operators

Sean Donelan SEAN at SDG.DRA.COM
Fri Apr 9 22:46:16 UTC 1999

The North American Electric Reliability Council conducted its first Y2K
telecommunications capability exercise.  As usual, they report the test
was successful; and at no time was any electric customer affected.  Twenty-
two regional security coordinators (the electric industry's term for
"NOC") and 2,000 electric utility personnel participated.

Lessons Learned: 

    - There were some incorrect phone numbers among the emergency contacts
    - Geographic coverage of some radios require relocation of antennas
    - Personnel require training on the use of backup systems. Some had
       only recently been installed, and little training occurred prior to
       the drill
    - Congestion on the backup systems indicated a need to establish and
       practice traffic priorities
    - Some backup transmissions were noisy
    - A "small number" of backup systems did not work
    - Severe weather in the Midwest hampered some activities

NetOps: When was the last time you tested your backup systems?  Or a better
question, do you have a backup system for contacting other providers?
Sean Donelan, Data Research Associates, Inc, St. Louis, MO
  Affiliation given for identification not representation

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