Don Loweburg ©1998 Don Loweburg first heard about "Y2K" approximately six months ago. A customer called and started asking questions like, "Can you run a house on solar?" and, "What would it take to power a well pump on solar?" By the tone of the questions, I could tell that this was not the usual renewable energy customer. This person was grid connected and looking for backup. As our conversation developed, he eventually felt comfortable enough to ask me if I had heard of the "Millennium Bug." I hadn't a clue, so my new customer proceeded to fill me in. My understanding of the situation is based primarily on conversations like this and augmented by some additional research of my own.

The Bug

The problem is due to the computer programming practice of using only the last two digits of the year in the date, rather than using all four digits, e.g., "68" rather than "1968." This was a simple way of using less memory, when computer systems were not designed to access large memory banks. This date is important because all time-dependent programs operating under this system will think that it's the year 1900 when the

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