Like many people in Ontario and the Northeastern United States, Bill Bergen faced pitch darkness a week ago. But around midnight in his room at the Arc Hotel in Ottawa power returned much earlier than it did for many others in the province, and even the city. It was among the only buildings in a

ten-block radius, he said, where the lights came back on quickly.

“”I think it’s on the same grid as the Parliament buildings, but it’s all by itself,”” he said. “”I thought everybody had lights.””

Bergen, president of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), said most Canadian IT firms have shown an exemplary effort in terms of conserving energy since the provincial government asked for cooperation in the blackout’s wake. ITAC on Thursday issued a five-point primer to help IT users not only get through the next few days, but in the long term as well. These include looking for the Energystar rating when purchasing equipment, powering up only on an as-needed basis, and clustering computing tasks at one point in the day when working remotely.

Several Canadian IT firms, including Nortel, IBM Canada and HP Canada, have also encouraged telecommuting amid the crisis, Bergen pointed out. The blackout also demonstrated a growing competency in preparing IT infrastructure for disaster.

“”I think part of that is still a hangover from Y2K,”” he said. “”Systems were put in place in anticipation of something going wrong.””

The government asked that Ontarians continue to conserve until at least Friday.

— Shane Schick

Blackout sends service providers into crisis mode
8/15/2003 1:00:00 PM – While Canadians wait for the lights to come back on, cellular network operators start switching around, domain name-keepers call in the reserves and Web hosters turn on the diesel

My birthday blowout
8/15/2003 5:00:00 PM – I knew the day would have surprises, but nothing this big

Data in the dark
8/18/2003 5:00:00 PM – Businesses are trying to conserve power, but providers are channeling all their energies to keep online commerce running smoothly. CIBC tells us how they keep track of their transactions

We’ve got the power
8/18/2003 5:00:00 PM – The blackout points to the need for decentralized energy management

Blackout tests enterprise disaster recovery plans
8/19/2003 5:00:00 PM – For once, data was backed up and diesel generators were ready to kick in, but no one thought they’d have to run this long. We talk to RBC and others on how the outage expands the scope of their strategies

Power grids face big Internet security risks: researcher
8/20/2003 5:00:00 PM – Basic flaws put utilities’ computer systems in peril, BCIT expert says

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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