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The Year 2000

1st January 2000 is on a Saturday and the 29th February 2000 is on a Tuesday.

Date and Time


A guide to avoid disasters

What can go wrong

It is impossible to list everything that can go wrong, but here are some situations:
No electricity
if critical control equipment fails, large areas could be without electricity. This could last for two weeks in rural or other low density areas. Lack of electricity will mean:
  • No electric light
  • No central heating (almost all use an electric pump or timer)
  • No electric cooking
  • No TV
  • No fresh water if it is pumped to or from reservoirs
Start buying candles, matches, batteries and torches in the January 1999 sales or in the summer of 1999. Buy warm jumpers and other thick clothing during the summer 1999 sales.
No telephones
although telephone exchanges have back up batteries, they are only designed for short outages of about 12 hours. BT has mobile generators but if there are too many prolonged outages there will not be enough to go around. So, don't expect to make phone calls after the 1st January 2000.
Banks and other Financial Institutions
although they will have backup electricity generators, they may have program faults or the telephone lines will be down. This may make it impossible to obtain cash from hole in the wall machines. Credit card readers may not work if telephone lines are down. So the key word is to have lots of cash to hand. Try to have cash sufficient for 3 weeks worth of credit card and cheque spending by December 15th 1999.
Petrol and Diesel
Without electricity, petrol or diesel cannot be refined. Without electricity the petrol and diesel pumps cannot dispense the fuel. Without fuel, deliveries cannot be made, so even if your area has elecricity, there may be a fuel shortage that will prevent deliveries to shops or milk to the door. Make sure the car or van is full of fuel by the end of December and heating oil tanks should also be filled.
Nuclear Accidents
There are thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at cities throughout the world. Lets hope that the USA, the old USSR, and other nuclear powers have checked out their systems. It only requires one missile, at 1am on January 1st 2000, to believe that the safety all's well message is 100 years overdue and automatically fire.
And do not forget about February 29th. Is the year 2000 a leap year? Try asking around and see how many do not know. An unscientific survey of programmers showed 10% having the wrong answer!

Planning for the worst

January Buy torches and batteries in the January Sales
Summer Buy winter cloths in the summer sales
September Buy candles and matches
9th September See how many programs do not cope with a date of 9/9/99!
October Buy a camping gas stove, a portable gas heater, and bottled gas
November Buy bottled water
Get 1 weeks credit card spending out of a cash machine and put it in a safe place
December Buy cans of ready meals, 2 tin openers and have a few practice meals
Buy 1 weeks supply of long-life milk.
15th December Turn off the electricity, water and gas for 12 hours - lock the freezer and fridge - do not use the car or go out for meals - and see how well you survive.
Get 2 weeks credit card spending out of a cash machine and put it in a safe place
31st December Have a good time
January Let us hope that any year 2000 problems are minor ones and that your money, water, and candles last out.
28th February What's the date tomorrow!

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