Movie May Fan Y2K Fears, Says Utility Group

A made-for-TV movie set to be broadcast Nov. 21 on NBC depicting widespread chaos and social unrest caused by Y2K-related power outages Jan. 1 has drawn sharp criticism from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Washington-based trade association of shareholder-owned electric utilities. "Regrettably, fear and opportunism regarding the new millennium are widespread and likely to grow as the New Year approaches," said M. William Brier, EEI's communication vice president. "We are concerned that the film, coming just before the conversion, will fan flames of panic and unnecessary alarm." According to EEI, Y2K: The Movie "may unintentionally reinforce the beliefs of many individuals that a chaotic event is imminent." The trade group expresses confidence that the electric grid is Y2K-ready, although isolated electric outages may occur --as they do every day. EEI has sent a letter to the 100 largest NBC affiliates urging them to help allay public concern by thoroughly covering local Y2K preparations.

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