List of Y2K failures - Here is proof : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

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With links provided by other forum members, I have compiled the following list of Y2K failures. I intend to give this to folks that have asked me for "proof" that Y2K is a real problem. I hope that you find it useful too. If nothing else, I believe it constitutes one heck of a list that isn't anywhere else - since it is really a compilation from 14 different sources - kind of a one-stop-shop for those of us who need this type of information for the folks that just don't get it yet. If you are interested in how this got started, see the thread called "Can you help me with a Y2K-related failures list?"

Each of the 14 parts has both the source and url where the information was found. My remarks, made for clarification purposes, are always contained after the url and enclosed in parenthesis. This is then followed by the actual contents explaining the failure(s).

The list is long, about seven pages printed. After you print it and go over it, you can copy/paste/cut to customize it for yourself, or use it "as is". Due to its length, I will be posting it to this thread in sections. It may take a while for me to get it all on this thread. Section "Fourteen" is the last of it.

I hope that the list proves to be worth both the time I have already spent and your time as well. If just one person sees this proof and "gets it", then to me it will have been worth it. Rob

One: Source: National Radio Astronomy Observatory - a facility of the National Science Foundation


(This link has the longest list of failures I have seen in one place, all with source information, and in time order as well. It prints out at about 6 pages, and you may want to print a hardcopy of all of it for yourself. For the purposes of this post, and to reduce redundancy with the other 13 sources, I decided to just include below excerpts that were failures in 1999 so far)

1999 January 25: Still some problems with 00 credit cards. Information Week reports that Visa still receives 100 to 150 reports a month that credit cards have been declined by point-of-sale systems because a card's expiration date is in the year 2000. MasterCard says it sees a handful of such incidents a month, usually at small, single-store operations. (The report does not compare this to the number of transactions now being made with '00' cards, which were embargoed for a while when point-of-sale problems first surfaced in 1997; the fact that the failure rate is now this small may be one of the Y2K success stories!).

1999 January 10: NY auto sticker shock. According to an AP report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Environmental Systems Products in Bohemia, NY, one of three companies that supplies automobile emission-testing equipment for use in New York state discovered that older equipment it had been phasing out could not produce a 00 windshield sticker for drivers whose vehicles had passed inspection late in 1998. '00' stickers were needed starting 1998 December 22 because New York gives an 8-day grace period for one-year validations. The older Environmental Systems equipment instead issued stickers saying '91'; many inspection stations put these on car windows, and parking agents began ticketing the apparently out-of-date cars. Environmental Systems reported the problem to the state/. Procedures were set up to quash the tickets, and a crash effort was maded to complete the transition to newer equipment. "It cost a lot of money," said James Richardson, the company's director of operations.

1999 January 6: Australian hospitals concerned. The Australian reports that almost a third of computer-related equipment in several South Australian hospitals, including cardiac monitors and drug distribution systems, have failed Y2K testing. "Of the 22,761 systems tested in South Australia, 7042 were non-compliant." Bob Hancock, the 2000 co-ordinator for Royal Adelaide Hospital, stated that the hospital would have to replace its monitoring and pharmacy systems because of non-compliance. (This report is a marginal "sighting" because it is not explicit about the nature of the non-compliance, or its potential consequences, but nevertheless implies that it is "serious".)

1999 January 5: Embedded chip locks out workers in Y2K-1 report. According to a UPI report, David Sterling, the head of Sterling and Sterling Insurance of Long Island, NY, states that a flaw in the hardware of his brand new card-access security system locked over half of his staff of 85 workers out of their office building on 1999 January 4 because the year had changed from 1998 to 1999. Sterling says he had been skeptical about predictions of malfunctions in date-sensitive chips, but now has a new attitude. "What scared me was the problem was not with the personal computer, which we checked. It was a chip in a control panel."

1999 January 4: Y2K arrives early for small WV firm. Business Week reports how the look-ahead time in accounting software made Lin Electric in Bluefield, WV, hit Y2K trouble sooner than expected. When the small company, which specializes in reconditioning electric motors, closed its books on fiscal 1998 and tried to open fiscal 1999, not only did their computer crash but the accounting system from Cougar Mountain Software Inc. locked up so tight it couldn't be restarted. Lin Electric had been advised of the problem but had intended to tackle it early in 1999, not realizing when it would strike. The Y2K bug can bite accounting packages early because they must work with periods long enough to handle overlaps between corporate fiscal years and calendar-year tax periods. Thus, when Lin Electric opened fiscal 1999, the software tried to create monthly entries extending into mid-2000. When this process got to 2000 January, it calculated the two-digit year "00" as 1944. "It has to do with the computer's BIOS [basic in/out system] chip and how it calculates dates," stated David Lakhani, sales manager of Cougar Mountain Software in Boise, Idaho. Lin Electric, a company with just 20 employees, processed its payroll checks by hand while the problem was being fixed.

1999 January 3: British examples. According to the Sunday Times, the bug has already affected numerous organizations. Examples: An oil company found that a dockside crane would not operate because an embedded chip thought an inspection was overdue; a National Health Service trust found that its computers would not process patient appointments beyond 1999 December; Halifax Building Society sent letters to customers informing them of new policies that were valid from 1999 to 1900.

1999 January 1: Taxis bugged by Y2K-1 in Singapore and Sweden.According to an Associated Press report, allegedly Y2K-compliant taxi meters malfunctioned today in Singapore and in Sweden. Some in Singapore stopped working altogether, while those in Sweden calculated fares incorrectly.

1999 January 1: Y2K-1 in Sweden. Police units at Stockholm's Arlanda airport, and at Gothenburg and Malmo airports got a foretaste of the Y2K bug when their computers malfunctioned at midnight on 1998 December 31. The bug hit airport police offices that issue immediate, temporary passports to last-minute or forgetful travellers. In another Swedish example, customers of Norway's state oil company Statoil, which operates about 600 gas stations in Sweden, could not use their credit cards because pumps had been programmed to accept them only through 1998 December. "There was nothing wrong in the data technology, but rather it was we who programmed badly," said Statoil spokesman Henrik Siden. These incidents appear to have been caused by the use of 99 as an end-of-file code.

-- Rob Michaels (, January 29, 1999


Two: Source: Mardon Century Experts, Incorporated


(This site has 1999 reported problems by the these industry sectors: Law Firms, Distribution, Grocery/Food Services, Insurance Associations/Mailers, PCs Personal & Business, Consulting, Remediation Projects' Impacts, Education (Higher Ed) Entertainment, Law Enforcement, Manufacturing, Transportation, Public Utilities, Media, Federal, Education (K-12), Public Sector, and Health Care. Some sectors, as of 1/27/1999 had no reported problems: like public utilities and entertainment. Also, I did not look at every one of the sectors above. Below are the reported failures for random sectors that I looked at:)

Federal Industry Sector - updated 1/22/1999:

As expected, government computers in Washington and in several states were unable to sign people up for unemployment benefits using standard forms, which set a date one year ahead as the end of the benefits. But, as previously planned, those agencies continued to sign people up for the benefits last week by plugging in Dec. 31, 1999, as the ending dates. John Koskinen, chairman of President Clinton's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, said the unemployment benefit scramble underscored the need to plan for breakdowns well in advance. He said he was worried that last week's calm might encourage local governments and small businesses to settle on "wait until it breaks" policies. Source: The New York Times on the Web

Education (K-12) Sector - updated 1/13/1999:

Type of failure: Incorrect calculations caused by adding 1 to current year and comparing to 1998. Impact of failure: Batch payroll job for supporting services employees received incorrect calculation results. Defect detected during the normally proofing and verification of check registers by the payroll staff. Additionally a related on-line ADSO program abnormally terminated due to the same defect. No resolution as of this report. Source: Mardon Direct Reporting Project

Public Sector - updated 1/13/1999:

County Government - Permits Issuance Type of failure: Incorrect output due to date of issuance being 99 and end of permit being 2000 (showing as 1900) - Impact of failure: Permits in abeyance. No resolution as of this report. Source: Mardon Direct Reporting Project

Works Compensation - Type of failure: Software calculating 99+1 = 00 and making it 1900. Impact of failure: A bookkeeper in California and received the monthly form from the State Workers Compensation Board to complete, pay and return. This one had all the rates for employees wrong. Upon contacting the agent, the bookkeeper was told "you've been bitten!"...their computer is reading the insurance programs 1999-2000 only it read it 1999-1900. He said thousands went out and they are being bombarded with calls. Simple enough to fix, just put in the figures the form recipients know are right. But State Comp still has to figure it out when the checks come in. Source: Mardon Direct Reporting Project

City Government - Inventory - Type of failure: Software: a date validation check stating "If year is less than 88 or equal to or greater than 99 then year is invalid". Impact of failure: A Canadian city government suffered a "99" failure on Jan 4, 1999. In the Inventory System, when an item is returned to stock, a date of return must be entered. It would not accept '99'. The problem was found, reported and corrected in less than 1 hour. Source: Maillist

State Government - Budget and Accounting - Type of failure: Software: The problem is with a date range of next business date plus or minus 1 year. Because the date is in MMDDYY format , the year of the incoming record must be > 98, but < 00. So all 99 dates are kicking out. Impact of failure: Every record on the tape created by Budget and input into Accounting is rejecting beginning with the tape created on 1/5/99, the first run of 1999. This problem was overcome by inserting the segments online rather than using the batch job as a short-term solution. The volume of rejected records is low. Source: Maillist

Health Care - updated 1/20/1999:

Medical Devices - Type of failure:Defective embedded microprocessor and related software. Impact of failure: Incorrect time/date on printed medical records that might lead to erroneous filing. Incorrect operation caused by rollover to 1999. Source: FDA Medical Alert

Consumer - Prescriptions/Insurance - Type of failure: Software or human error. Impact of failure: Pharmacy Systems in the New York and Washington areas indicated people insured by PCS Health had expired insurance. Approximately 50,000 insured individuals were impacted. Many were required to pay the full cash for their prescriptions. While company officials were quick to note that this was NOT a Y2K problem, Mardon will leave this entry open until such time as the companies involved disclose what the cause of the failure was. Source: Washington Post

Patient Care - Medical Devices Type of failure: Embedded Systems within an IV drip unit Shut down at 98-99 rollover. Impact of failure: Personnel had been warned to watch for problems and detected problem shortly after they shut down. No patients' health was compromised by failure. Note: The vendor had indicated that the monitor was OK for Y2K. Source: Mardon Direct Reporting Project

Swiss Hospitals - Admitting System - Type of failure: Software: System programmed to compare input data with the date a year in the future. This was programmed in 6 digits as "01.01.00". The system interpreted this as 1 Jan 1900. Impact of failure: The hospitals in the canton Waadt spent the 1st and 2nd of January 1999 fighting with the computer problems that are expected for the year 2000. Except for the University Hospital in Lausanne, the computer systems for admitting patients in all of the hospitals of the canton were down for 36 hours. Specialists were able to fix the problem, according to a spokeswomen for the hospitals in the newspaper "24 Heures" (24 hours) on Wednesday. Source: Year-2000 computer problem in Waadtlaender hospitals Lausanne

Ultrasound Equipment Users - Type of failure: Embedded system defect. Impact of failure: This appears to be that the initialization routine for startup after replacement of a dead battery has some logic in it that cannot operate with a "00" date. Impact of failure: General Electric Medical Systems has noted on their Web Site that a version of their ultrasound units (the RT 5000, RT 6000 and RT6800) have Year 2000 impacts. If the lithium battery fails during 2000, it will be necessary to replace the CPU board. A battery failure at any other time will not require a CPU board replacement. mail list

Multiple Medical Devices - Type of failure: Embedded Systems & software defects. Impact of failure: An Australian group of medical centers tested various devices and found many fail in either 2000 rollover, holding the 2000 date, or recognizing 2000 is a leap year. The list currently contains 51 devices Source: Mardon Direct Reporting Project

Three: Source: Electric Power Research Institute Proceedings from EPRI Embedded Systems Workshop, Proceedings dated 10/4/1997


(Excerpt only)

Y2K testing was conducted on a generator temperature control system at a power plant in the United Kingdom. To test for Y2K compliance, the control system clock was set to just prior to midnight, Dec. 31, 1999. Twenty seconds past midnight, the unit tripped on high generator temperature.

It turns out the process value for the control valve for generator cooling is integrated over time for smoothing and when the time moved past midnight from '99 to '00, the PV was integrated over infinity. The valve closed (fail safe), tripping the unit on high generator temperature. If this were an isolated incident, the industry would evolve through the year 2000 with little difficulty. However, the algorithms used in this control system are common throughout Europe and most systems are vulnerable to the problem. Loss of numerous generating units simultaneously in the United Kingdom could be devastating to the country.

Four: Source: The Cassandra Project Web Site


(Excerpts from the "Year 2000 Problem Occurrences" section)

When Chrysler Corp. shut down its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant last year and turned all the plant's clocks to Dec. 31, 1999, executives were expecting to find computer glitches associated with the date change from 1999 to 2000. But they weren't expecting quite so many glitches. "We got lots of surprises," said Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton. "Nobody could get out of the plant. The security system absolutely shut down and wouldn't let anybody in or out. And you obviously couldn't have paid people, because the time-clock systems didn't work." Ottawa Citizen, 5/15/98

This past April, the computer network that schedules patient appointments at three hospitals and 75 clinics in Pennsylvania shut down -- all because one person punched in an appointment for January 2000. As reported in Money Magazine

Royal Sutherland Hospital in New South Wales has identified two processors, a laser camera and an ultrasound machine which will be rendered inoperable come 2000. The value of the equipment is estimated at more than $550,000 and it must be replaced. [Reported in Australian Financial Review]

At midnight on Jan. 1, 1997, 660 process control computers that run the smelter potlines at the Tawai Point Aluminum smelter in Southland, New Zealand, could not account for an extra day stemming from the 1996 leap year and crashed. Five pot cells were ruined, leaving the aluminum company with a repair bill estimated at more than $570,000. Two hours later, Comalco's Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania shut down with the same problem, according to reports in the New Zealand Business Herald and The Dominion, in Wellington, New Zealand.

On Jan. 1, 1997, the millennium bug hit a law enforcement computer in New Zealand. The system, which controls criminal records, driver's licenses, vehicle registration, and more, wouldn't let police set court dates two years hence. Files had to be processed manually, and the system will be replaced by early 1999, according to reports in the New Zealand Business Herald.

When the Hawaiian Electric utility in Honolulu ran tests on its system to see if it would be affected by the Y2K Bug, "basically, it just stopped working," says systems analyst, Wendell Ito. If the problem had gone unaddressed, not only would some customers have potentially lost power, but others could have got their juice at a higher frequency, in which case, "the clocks would go faster, and some things could blow up," explains Ito.

In 1993, the Associated Press reported that Mary Bandar, a 104-year old resident of Winona, Minn., turned down an invitation to attend kindergarten. A computer triggered by the fact that she was born in 1888, fired off a notice to begin school in the fall.

Air traffic controllers at an emergency meeting of the International Federation of Airline Controllers (January 1998) simulated the year 2000 date change. Their screens went blank.

-- Rob Michaels (, January 29, 1999.

Five: Source: The Journal of Commerce online


(Excerpts only)

With 2000 nearly upon us, a survey of 110 U.S. corporations, 12 federal, state and local government agencies, and 12 industrial sectors found that a large number of the respondents have experienced Year 2000-related failures, and nearly all of them -- 98% -- expect more such failures in 1999. The quarterly survey was conducted by Cap Gemini America, a Y2K consulting and services provider. The report found that every company is now developing contingency plans to prepare for expected failures. In a similar study done in April, only 3% were putting together such plans. The number of companies that are very likely, or potentially likely, to stop doing business with noncompliant suppliers rose to 69%, up from 60% in the third quarter. The percentage of firms planning to incorporate Year 2000 compliance into marketing messages increased to 55% from 50% in October.

The study found that the percentage of companies with a process in place to validate renovated code prior to testing rose substantially in the past quarter from 16% to 62%. More than half of the respondents -- 55% -- have already experienced a Year 2000-related computer error. This figure is up from 44% in October and 40% in July, according to Cap Gemini. Three quarters of the organizations -- 74% -- expect that more than half of their systems will be tested and compliant by Jan. 1, 1999, a percentage unchanged since October, according to the survey. However, 92% of the companies report missing Year 2000 plan deadlines more frequently, up from 84% last July. In regards to Y2K budgets, companies continue to underestimate their Y2K spending. Eighty-four percent classified their cost estimates as "too low," compared with 82% in the third quarter and 87% in the second quarter. The quarterly survey is conducted by Rubin Systems.

Six: Source: Peter De Jager - The Year 2000 Information Center


(As of 1/27/1999, here is what is in the "Current Articles" section for January, 1999 - I include this here since if you are interested in any particular article you can go to the Site and use the hotlinks there. Most of the titles below describe the type of failure.)

Information Week: Y2K Glitches Surface -- Report Shows Diverse Problems

One-third of ITAA respondents report Y2K-related problems

Information Week: Millenium Bug Bites Retailers Credit cards

Boston Globe: Prodigy to shut down online service over Year 2000 problem Prodigy "Classic" termination affects 208,000 subscribers

Minneapolis Star Tribune: 2000 bug a reason for store's closure Grocery store closes doors

Westergaard Year 2000: Evolution of a Myth Vehicle inspection stickers

ZDNet News: Some Y2K bugs strike early 105-year-old woman invited to enroll in kindergarten

Edmonton Journal: Millennium bug strikes U of A early Phone system

TechWeb: Computer Flaw Triggers Early Data Release Early release of producer prize index (PPI)

Roll Call: Senate Isn't Paying Bills on Time - Rent Checks Running Weeks Behind Schedule The Senate

ZDNet News: Computer Date Glitch Locks Workers Out Security system

Business Week Online: Still a year to tackle the Y2K bug? Think again Accounting software

South China Morning Post: Bug puts byte on harbour master's chips Vital information system tracking vessels in and out of Hong Kong

Tennessean : Y2K bug biting before 2000 External defibrillator and a patient monitoring system

BBC News: The bug bites NHS trust could not process appointments Canterbury Cathedral could not book tourist visits

The Sunday (London) Times: Bug bites Halifax building society informs customers of new policies valid "from 1999 to 1900" Oil company's crane would not operate - chip thought it was overdue a technical inspection

Seven: Source: The Australian


(Excerpt only)

Hospital systems fail test for Y2K By ANDREW McGARRY 6jan99

ALMOST a third of computer-related equipment in South Australian hospitals, including cardiac monitors and drug distribution systems, have failed the millennium bug test. The potentially disastrous results have forced the State Government to boost funding by $19 million to combat the effect of the bug, also known as Y2K, where computer systems fail to recognise the date January 1, 2000. Health Minister Dean Brown said the investment was needed because serious non-compliance problems had been discovered in several hospitals. Of the 22,761 systems tested in South Australia, 7042 were non-compliant.

Eight: Source: Fortune


(If you are interested in the manufacturing industry, this article is for you. Below are excerpts from the article that were related to Y2K failures)

Industry Wakes Up to the Year 2000 Menace - April 27, 1998

Gene Bylinsky Reporter Associate: Alicia Hills Moore

Small wonder, then, that many plant managers and their bosses plan to stay close to their jobs over the three-day weekend when the millennium rolls in. Already they've had a foretaste of what could go wrong. A somewhat similar time problem--programmers' failure to account for the 1996 leap year--halted some production lines at the beginning of 1997, causing millions of dollars in damage. In simulations of the transition from 1999 to 2000, some factory robots, as well as computers that control electric power generation and transmission, stopped dead. Other warning signs have appeared. By erroneously interpreting a 00 datum as the year 1900, a mindless computer at a food company directed workers to throw out perfectly good products.

So for a long time manufacturing companies snoozed, including GM. When he arrived at the automotive giant a year and a half ago to take over the CIO job, recalls Ralph Szygenda, he was amazed "that most people assumed that the factory floor didn't have year 2000 problems. At each one of our factories there are catastrophic problems," says the blunt-talking executive. "Amazingly enough, machines on the factory floor are far more sensitive to incorrect dates than we ever anticipated. When we tested robotic devices for transition into the year 2000, for example, they just froze and stopped operating."

Leap-year snafus damaged production lines when programmers failed to account for the extra day in February 1996. At a small U.S. manufacturer of industrial solutions that prefers to remain unnamed, production ground to a halt on Jan. 1, 1997. Before workers could remedy the situation, the liquids hardened in the pipelines, which had to be replaced at a cost of $1 million. That caused late deliveries and the loss of three customers. Computers misinterpreting 00 year dates are already issuing demented instructions. Companies don't issue press releases about such bungles and can't be named. But one consultant tells of a U.S. freeze-dried food manufacturer that noticed its warehouse inventory mysteriously decreasing. Reason: The computer system, mistakenly reading the 00 expiration date on the products as 1900, had ordered stocks destroyed. Communications systems could crash too. The U.S. Army's Materiel Command, testing its PBX telephone systems for the 2000 transition, found that they ran fine for three days after the turn of the year, until accumulated date errors shut down the whole network.

-- Rob Michaels (, January 29, 1999.

Nine: Source Techweb republished from EETIMES


(This article is about the embedded systems problem. I could not find any specific examples of Y2K failures. However, the last paragraph (below) does contain a general mention so I include it here)

December 14, 1998, Issue: 1039 Section: Embedded Systems -- Focus: Reliability And The Year 2000

Although much of the in-depth system testing is just beginning, there have been several reports of significant date errors found and corrected. Some of the test results would have been very serious if they had occurred during normal plant operation. It is hoped that this will serve as a wake-up call to those who operate their facilities and as a sobering reminder to the experts who believe the problems are trivial and the severity blown out of proportion to the actual danger.

Ten Source: Business Today


(This article is also about the embedded systems problem. Below is an excerpt)

Millennium Bug has burrowed in deep to some systems By Lou Kilzer/Scripps Howard News Service

John Jenkins, CEO of TAVA Technologies in Colorado, says there is hope. ``I'm not someone who runs around and bangs a gong and says the sky is falling,'' said Jenkins, whose company has won Y2K fix-it contracts with several major firms, including General Motors. ``A lot of these problems can be corrected by a reboot.'' But some cannot. Overall, the failure rate of embedded systems could be between 1 percent and 3 percent. But in special cases, that number increases. At one hospital, technicians found that 10 percent to 15 percent of medical devices were not Y2K compliant, Jenkins said. In some systems that use custom code, three in 10 had Year 2000 problems.

Eleven: Source: Forbes


(This article is also about the embedded systems problem and interdependency. Below is an excerpt)

Embedded trouble By Srikumar S. Rao

Warns G.K. Jayaram, chairman of Transformation Systems, a Princeton, N.J. information technology consulting firm: "Come 2000 there will be rolling blackouts across much of the U.S." "In tests, several utilities have suffered system crashes as the date rolls over to 01/01/2000," says Jayaram. "Our electricity transmission network is so highly interconnected that a failure in one sector can easily cascade to others thousands of miles away."

Twelve: Source: Canoe/Reuters


(This article is about how Canada is setting up a "war room" to monitor year 2000 woes. Below is an excerpt that is a quote from Marcel Masse, the minister assigned to oversee federal preparations)

OTTAWA, Jan 13 (Reuters)

"We expect that there will be some glitches. Our goal is to minimize the possible disruption of service to Canadians," he said. "We must prepare and prevent; but we should not panic." Citing possible problems, he described how one Canadian municipality was testing its water system for Year 2000 compliance and found that a subsystem started dumping in too many chemicals, causing a shutdown for a few hours.

Thirteen: Source: IEEE - The Institution of Electrical Engineers


(This site has a lot of information from an Engineering perspective and covers many aspects of the problem, including embedded systems, testing, compliance and readiness, risk assessment, etc. I did not see anything specific regarding existing failures, but did not check every single link)

Fourteen: Source: Vector International


(This site is also about Year 2000 Issues with Embedded Software Devices. I did not see anything specific regarding existing failures, but did not check every single link)

-- Rob Michaels (, January 29, 1999.

I found this one a bit disconcerting:
General Electric Medical Systems has noted on their Web Site that a version of their ultrasound units (the RT 5000, RT 6000 and RT6800) have Year 2000 impacts. If the lithium battery fails during 2000, it will be necessary to replace the CPU board.
The reason is not this particular problem itself -- which can obviously be handled easily if owners of the equipment are aware soon enough.

The reason is personal. I have developed software for GE Medical Systems and have a very high regard for this particular division of GE (other divisions may vary of course). Of all the companies and programming projects I have been part of, this company tops my list of people dedicated to quality from top to bottom. During my time at the company, management constantly encouraged contact with customers at all levels. I consistently saw shortcuts NOT TAKEN when quality of the product was an issue. To this day, I have not worked in an environment where the entire production team was listened to as well by upper management as was the case at GE Medical Systems. Safety of their products and their working environment and active education of the employee were always top concerns.

I have not worked there recently and cannot speak to the situation there today but I can tell you that I would not hesitate to undergo a diagnostic procedure where GE Medical Systems equipment was being used (other issues aside). I consider them to be among the best and most dedicated people I have ever worked with.

Certainly, the milage of others may vary.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, January 29, 1999.


Great work! You must spent have put a lot of time putting this list together. Thank you.

-- Kevin (, January 29, 1999.

Thank-you Rob!! Excellent job! I just read about another billing problem:

-- Gayla Dunbar (, January 29, 1999.


Thanks a lot, you must be a mind reader!

-- Bill Watt (, January 29, 1999.

well done Rob!

am keeping copies of this for future reference.


-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 29, 1999.

Thank you so much, Rob....all my luddite DGI uncles will get copies. Mary.

-- Mary (, January 29, 1999.

Two thoughts:

First, for those of you who intend to give this to Forget its, Don't wanna get its, and Don't get its - I am interested in learning from you if this list of failures was actualy useful in moving someone up the Y2K Evolutionary scale to "Get it". So, if you agree this would be useful, then post any results you get to this thread.

Second: More failures are already happening and still more are expected very soon - those related to "99" first-time end-of-month processing in financial and accounting systems is one example that may hit in the next few days. Let's follow Gayla's lead and post links to any verifiable Y2K-related failure that can be confirmed (through a source in the article for examlple) to this thread so that we keep the list current as possible.

p.s. Your all very welcome, it was a lot of work, and I am still catching up on stuff. I ask that we work together to post any results and keep the list up to date with new failures. I will be giving the list to some folks next Wednesday and will post the results of that here. Bye for now, Rob.

-- Rob Michaels (, January 30, 1999.

-- Gayla Dunbar (, January 31, 1999.

Source: PC Magazine online


"Recently Scientific American collected some of the Y2K problems affecting both individuals and organizations that have already occurred:"

* A Minnesota woman who is over 100 years old received an invitation to attend kindergarten in her hometown, following a computer error.

* In 1993 Boeing, which uses proprietary networked software to prepare parts orders seven years before filing the orders, got a flood of error messages because of misinterpretation of the date seven years out.

* Unum Life Insurance Co. deleted hundreds of records from a financial reporting database after one of the company's computers mistook "00" in a date field for 1900.

* Amway Corp., which uses networked PCs to track the expiration dates of chemicals it mixes, had a string of chemicals rejected by the network because the expiration dates seemed to be in the year 1900.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 01, 1999.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


(two short excerpts from the article)

Curious about what would happen when the new millennium ticks in, a water-purification plant in Utah set its clocks ahead to Jan. 1, 2000. With computers ill-equipped to handle the new date, the plant malfunctioned, dumping poisonous quantities of chlorine and other chemicals into the water. It is one story in an arsenal of anecdotes employed by Sen. Bob Bennett, who is preaching preparedness for the so-called ``Year 2000 Problem,'' also known as ``Y2K.''

Bennett's story raises the specter that it also could adversely affect the water supply. Not only could a Y2K glitch cause the wrong mix of chemicals, it could lead to water shortages. Y2K-caused power failures could disrupt sewage-treatment plants, causing sewage to back up into basements or spill into waterways, some of which are used for drinking water.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 02, 1999.

Wow. What a great job you did, Rob.

-- Grrr (, February 02, 1999.

Source: Tampa Bay Online


(I post the following to remind us all that there are computers failures all of the time, even without Y2K, some of them serious - deadly serious. Add these in with actual Y2K related failures and I think you get the message.)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - People across the country are finding some disturbing information when they open their W-2 forms: They've been declared dead. The problem appears to be that employers used new W-2 forms with old computer software programs. As a result, an ``X'' that should have been printed in the "pension'' box appeared in the space denoting ``deceased.'' At New Mexico State University, hundreds of employees opened their tax forms this week to find an ``X'' printed under the word ``deceased.'' The same thing happened last week to 13,000 city employees in Dallas. In Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 350 municipal employees were listed as ``deceased'' on their W-2's. In Dickson, Okla., schoolteachers were checked off as dead. In Muscogee County, Ga., the tax forms of 6,000 school employees had the fatal flaw. And in Fargo, N.D., state university workers were victims.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 02, 1999.

Source: Denver Post



What was supposed to have been an inoculation against the millennium bug instead caused a billing snafu at WestPlains, a unit of UtiliCorp United Inc. of Kansas City, Mo. UtiliCorp, which serves customers in eight states, recently installed a new billing system to protect against the Y2K bug. The bug is a programming oddity that can cause a computer to read 2000 as 1900. The billing system got off to a smooth start in Kansas last year. But it had trouble computing bills in Colorado for the small percentage of WestPlains customers whose monthly electricity and gas use had to be estimated. Similar problems may have occurred in Minnesota, Kort said. A utility estimates power use if a meter reader can't get to a customer's meter for any reason, like a snowstorm or a mean dog. The utility doesn't know the precise cause of the billing error, or the number of people who were sent electricity bills typically $70 to $90 off the mark.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 03, 1999.

Source: Mardon Century Experts, Incorporated


Manufacturing Industry - updated 01/13/1999:

Type of failure: Out of date Accounting Software. Impact of failure: Not only did the electric motor rebuilding company's computer crash but also the accounting system locked up so tight it couldn't be restarted. Payroll checks for the 20 employees at Lin Electric, which specializes in reconditioning electric motors, had to be written by hand. "We're a small company, so that wasn't a big deal," says Taylor. "Our people didn't suffer during the holidays." Source: Mardon Direct Reporting Project

Insurance Insdustry - updated 01/20/1999:

Type of failure: Microprocessor In Control Panel. Impact of failure: On Monday, workers tried to get into their office building using the new card-access security system, which would not allow them in because it failed due to a '99' rollover bug. Source: UPI Release Via

Type of failure: Software. Impact of failure: A 4th quarter Field Bulletin announced to the field agents that the company had achieved "full Y2K compliance" and that customers should be informed of this stupendous feat whenever they asked. Last week, however, the agents received another Field Bulletin which stated that an error was discovered in a program that calculates New Home Policies (aka "Remediation"). It seems that data calculations in which the year 1999 is entered, the data are calculated from 1899 instead. Source:

Home and Business PC Users Industry - updated 01/18/1999

Type of failure: Software. Impact of failure: Intuit's Quicken'99 fails with a "divide by zero" message when a transaction dated in January 1999 is recorded in the Auto category and its "Home and Car Center" is opened. Source:

-- Rob Michaels (, February 03, 1999.

Rob, from fruitcake to link bootcamp to Sherlockian sleuthing, you are magnifying awesome! Thanks :)

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, watching the meteoric rise of Rob Michaels, wow!

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx

-- Leska (, February 03, 1999.

Source: Computer Reseller News - February 01, 1999, Issue: 827

Link: (Excerpt)

Some CompTIA folks recently visited water treatment plants in Nebraska to test controllers for Y2K problems at municipal water treatment facilities. Within hours, coliform bacteria showed up in the water systems, meaning some embedded processors aren't quite ready for the new millennium. What's more, there are over 1,000 similar water treatment systems around the country.

Source: Chicago Tribune - By Cornelia Grumman Tribune Staff Writer January 31, 1999



In a less-than-sweet bit of confectionary computing, salespeople at Godiva Chocolatier in Water Tower Place last fall couldn't swipe credit cards that expired in the year 2000 or beyond. A clerk there eventually figured out that entering a fake 1999 expiration date by hand allowed the transactions to go through.

A University of Chicago hospital billing system briefly malfunctioned six months ago because it is programmed to automatically project 18 months in advance and could not handle the changeover to 2000. Patients could not be registered in the computer for a day.

The first Monday in January this year, nearly half the 85 employees of David Sterling's insurance company in Great Neck, N.Y., were locked out when they returned to work from the holiday weekend. A tiny microchip in the brand new security system Sterling installed last fall was unable to handle employee card keys encoded with an expiration date that included 00. "I didn't believe all that stuff about Y2K when I read about it, but I experienced it," Sterling said. "I'm not one of these alarmist people, but I'm going to stock up on some bottled water and maybe a few canned goods."

Several hundred taxpayers last year, for example, received notices from the Internal Revenue Service that they owed $30 million. John Yost, who heads the IRS's Year 2000 efforts, acknowledged the notices were an unintended side effect of the agency's effort to bring its system into Year 2000 compliance.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 04, 1999.

Source: Mardon Direct Reporting Project


(Check out his link. It covers "various Y2K readiness projects that have caused external impacts to providers, clients, and/or customers." In other words, the process of remediation itself has sometimes caused failures, and this is a list of some - including what happened recently in the U.S. Senate - Rob)

-- Rob Michaels (, February 04, 1999.

Source: The Cincinnati Post 2/6/1999


Y2K glitches already hit auditor office - By Kimball Perry, Post staff reporter


A tricky conversion to a new computer accounting system is causing some Hamilton County workers to wait for paychecks and some companies who do business with the county to wait for payment. Some of the Department of Human Services' cars can't be used because they are out of gas. The credit cards assigned to the workers who use the cars aren't allowing new charges because the bill hasn't been paid. Some county employees received incorrect pay or benefits. 'I've got 300 people here, and I had 10 bad checks. If you're one of the 10, it's a major problem,' said Tom Gould, chief deputy Clerk of Courts.

Source: Excite (Reuters)


(Update on the W2's failure - Excerpt)

In Dallas, about 13,000 city employees enrolled in pension plans received W-2s -- the forms that tell workers how much they have paid in various payroll deductions -- with the "deceased" box checked. The problem was caused by old computer software used with a W-2 form that put the "deceased" box where the "pension" box use to be, the Dallas city controller told Reuters Wednesday. The same problem affected some 350 municipal employees in Saratoga Springs, New York and the Chicago Tribune reported. similar snags in New Mexico and Oklahoma. The IRS had no information on the national number of errors or whether the forms would have to be reissued. The agency did confirm that it relies on computerized data when processing income tax returns and that the W-2s are merely a backup and for its files.

Source: Computer Reseller News


Confessions Of A Year 2000 Victim - Heather Clancy


It seems that last month, my bank, which I won't name in this column out of deference to the future of my account balance, has been very diligent in ensuring that its systems will be fully prepared for the dreaded millennium bug. Earlier this month, when I called to inquire about why my statement was taking so long to arrive, I was told the compliance switch was flipped in late December. Thus, the entire statement cycle had been thrown off. Not to worry. At the time, I was impressed by my bank's attention to year 2000 compliance. What neither I nor my bank branch managers realized at the time, however, was that the fix had also obliterated two weeks' worth of account information. You guessed it, by some twist of fate, the very period for which I desperately needed documentation had been unceremoniously vaporized. Fortunately, several frantic phone calls-and the existence of good old-fashioned checks and deposit statements to back up the electronic record-helped the bank and I recover the missing data.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 08, 1999.

Source: Associated Press Link:

For Some, Y2K Is Already Causing Problems - 2/10/99


The Year 2000 computer problem is not only striking fear in the hearts of computer system operators, Sen. John McCain says. It's also bringing up dollar signs in the eyes of unscrupulous attorneys. McCain, R-Ariz., has introduced a bill that would limit the amount of damages plaintiffs can collect from companies that cause business failures or sell products that fail because of the problem, also known as the Y2K glitch. Some frivolous lawsuits already have been filed, McCain, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, told panel members Tuesday.

Small businessman Mark Yarsike asked the committee to reject the idea, saying a Y2K glitch turned his first day as a gourmet produce grocer into a nightmare. Happy customers who streamed in and picked out purchases quickly became angry after store clerks tried to ring up purchases on the store's sparkling new $100,000 high-tech computer system. It crashed after clerks tried to process credit cards set to expire in 2000. "People were waiting with full carts of groceries to pay but couldn't,'' he told the committee. "We could not process a single credit card or could not take cash or checks. We could not make one sale.''

-- Rob Michaels (, February 10, 1999.

Source: The Ottawa Citizen


Y2K bug: The first hit - Ron Corbett


Although it isn't as apocalyptic, here's a Y2K problem you've never heard of before. And there's nothing possible about it. It's already happened. The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, in what it admits is a Y2K gaffe, has recently sent out hundreds of notices of fines for traffic infractions that, according to the government, will occur nearly 100 years in the future.

"We have received a number of phone calls about this," says Ministry of Attorney General spokesmen Brendan Crawley. "We have met with our technical people, and they have met with the company that produces our notices, and we have identified the problem. "It occurred on a production run while the company was working on making itself Y2K compatible. "No one caught the mistakes, and the notices went out."

-- Rob Michaels (, February 12, 1999.

Source: The Irish Times

Link: sh-times/paper/1999/0212/tech6.html

Most Y2K bugs will occur - before 2000 - expert - By Karlin Lillington

(While not an actual failure, I felt that this was related enough to be of interest. Consider the source, and his job, and his opinions in light of the failures already posted to this thread, and the many more failures that have undoubtedly occurred which have been swept under the rug that we know nothing about. Selected excerpts follow.)

Y2K: Most computer failures due to the Year 2000 problem will occur well before January 1st, 2000, and contingency plans need to be in place to handle failures by the end of the second quarter of this year, according to Mr Ian Hugo, assistant director of the British Year 2000 action group, Taskforce 2000, and editor of Millennium Watch, a Year 2000 newsletter. "I'm sure that the focus on the first of January, 2000 is wrong," said Mr Hugo during a lecture at Trinity College on Wednesday. He believes that 10 per cent of failures have already occurred (whether detected or not), about 60 per cent of failures will happen during this year, and only about 30 per cent will take place on January 1st or after.

All countries are dangerously lagging in their preparations for Y2K, he said, but English-speaking countries are in better shape than others. In Europe, "France and Italy are nowhere", he said, while Germany is behind. The Scandinavian and Benelux countries are in better shape. But according to a Taskforce2000 survey last year, only 45 per cent of the London Times top 1,000 companies reached a benchmark position for Y2K preparedness. Some 10 to 20 per cent of the remainder are "seriously behind", which is "a serious percentage of the total UK economy", said Mr Hugo.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 12, 1999.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Link: 256717002B6123?OpenDocument

Test for Y2K problem causes errors on monthly sewer bills Saturday, February 13, 1999 By Phil Sutin


About 50,000 residential customers of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District got incorrect monthly bills this week after a computer program was tested to see if it had a year 2000 problem. Terry Briggs, an MSD spokesman, said a staff programmer was testing the district's customer billing program to make sure it was compatible with the year 2000. To test the computer, the programmer entered 800 cubic feet as the amount of water consumed; the amount is the average monthly water usage of residential customers. The bill for a customer using that much water is $13.23, plus the 24-cent storm water charge everyone pays.

Source: (Associated Press)



Some people think the millennium bug is a hollow threat, and others think it will have cataclysmic consequences. Mainers who are still on the fence about the threatened computer glitch associated with the dawning of the year 2000 may want to consider the experiences of three companies that have already been bitten by the so-called Y2K bug.

It struck at UNUM Corp. in Portland in 1995 when it ate part of a list of brokers with whom the insurance company does business. At Consumers Maine Water Co., the bug infested 18 microprocessors hidden inside panels that control water quality and monitor treatment systems. And at Valcom in South Portland, a computer training and consulting company, the millennium bug had been hidden away in the hardware of personal computers it tests for businesses and individuals.

All three Maine companies that found problems were able to fix their computers. David Bettinger, a computer consultant at CST 2000 in Portland, said not all repairs will be so cheap and in some cases, the entire machine or system must be replaced. "In some cases, the chip may be soldered to the board,'' he said. "Then it does become an expensive situation.''

Source: Globe and Mail


Geac shares bitten badly by Y2K bug problems - Stock falls 29% after company's profit warning Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - TYLER HAMILTON

(It is 2/17/1999 and Wall Street still does not have a Y2K clue, which is good news for those of you who still have their hard-earned money in equities. Check out this story. Many more like it will be following in the upcoming weeks/months. So, don't push your luck. Excerpts follow)

Geac Computer Corp. Ltd. stock fell 29 per cent yesterday after the company warned that the year 2000 computer bug will gnaw a sizable chunk out of its third-quarter software sales and profit. The announcement follows a string of warnings from Canadian and U.S. software firms, all of which say that fixing the year 2000 computer problem is sucking money out of customers' budgets and leaving little for new orders.

Source: MSNBC



LOS ANGELES, Feb. 15 - The Y2K bug forced the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to spend $600,000 to replace 100 breathalyzer machines. Intoximeters Inc., a St. Louis-based breathalyzer manufacturer sent letters to law enforcement agencies warning them to buy new machines or risk faulty tests that might not hold up in court. The agency now must conduct 120 classes to train an estimated 6,000 officers from the various law enforcement agencies on how to operate the machines, Le said. The department expects to have everything in place by the end of the year

-- Rob Michaels (, February 17, 1999.

Source: Computerworld New Zealand Link:

Y2K: a matter of life and death - Clinical equipment fails Y2K tests despite vendor guarantee of compliance by Paul Brislen


Y2K has become literally a matter of life or death. Clinical equipment in some hospitals will fail on January 1, 2000 if it is not fixed or replaced. "We've looked at six patient-controlled intravenous pumps and four weren't compliant," says Andre Snoxall, manager of information systems at Taranaki Healthcare. "Two of these would have allowed the patient to double-dose if one dose were applied before midnight and one after. The other two do the same, and then they stop working altogether." Alarmingly, Snoxall says they still have eight more pumps to check. "We expect half of them fail as well." But the most disturbing aspect of this discovery is that Snoxall has a written statement from the manufacturer assuring him of the devices' compliance.

-- (, February 18, 1999.

Source: Computerworld New Zealand


Y2K: a matter of life and death - Clinical equipment fails Y2K tests despite vendor guarantee of compliance by Paul Brislen


Y2K has become literally a matter of life or death. Clinical equipment in some hospitals will fail on January 1, 2000 if it is not fixed or replaced. "We've looked at six patient-controlled intravenous pumps and four weren't compliant," says Andre Snoxall, manager of information systems at Taranaki Healthcare. "Two of these would have allowed the patient to double-dose if one dose were applied before midnight and one after. The other two do the same, and then they stop working altogether." Alarmingly, Snoxall says they still have eight more pumps to check. "We expect half of them fail as well." But the most disturbing aspect of this discovery is that Snoxall has a written statement from the manufacturer assuring him of the devices' compliance.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 18, 1999.

Source: Cedar Rapids Gazzette


No 'guarantees' of power supply - By Dale Kueter

(A link to this article was posted on the CBN site. The url is - Two Excerpts follow)

MidAmerican Energy in Des Moines expects to spend $15 million on the problem. Spokesman Kevin Waetke says 100 people in the utility are directing part of their time to Y2K. Bob Newell, Alliant's Y2K project manager, says the company has a goal of being Y2K-ready by April 1. The utility completed an inventory of potential problems last year. The biggest concerns, he says, are not internal, but those associated with suppliers of computer elements at control centers and generation sites. Newell says some controls provided by vendors failed three times. Last year the company purchased 50 laptop computers, all supposedly Y2K-ready. Half failed tests. Newell says Alliant surveyed 6,000 vendors to see whether their products are Y2K-compliant. The company is waiting for "fixes" from 65 suppliers. All should be installed by April 1, he says.

Allan Thoms, chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board, is confident there will be no major disruptions in electric power, "but I think there will be some failures..." Thoms tells of a utility in England that believed it had fixed all Y2K problems. It spun the computer clocks ahead to Jan. 1, 2000. One of its coal plants hummed along for 20 seconds, then stopped. After additional checking, the firm discovered a temperature indicator that had a date and time embedded chip.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 23, 1999.

Source: Bank Rate Monitor


By Laura A. Bruce, 2/26/1999

(Thanks to poster "lowprofile" for the lead on this. There is more to this article than just the excepts below. Also discussed are the affects, from a litigation perspective, of the lack of standardized definitions for terms such as 'compliant' and 'Y2K ready' - Now think about the estimated $1 Trillion dollars in litigation costs from Y2K - Excerpts follow)

When a clerk at Produce Palace, an upscale grocery store in Warren, Mich., tried to process a customer's credit card, the cash register crashed. Sometimes, just one credit-card swipe could make all 10 of the store's registers crash. The store had to take the customers' word that their credit was good. Clerks handed out roses to unhappy customers who had to wait while charges were hand-written.

In what is believed to be the first Y2K-related lawsuit, Produce Palace sued Atlanta-based TEC America, a leading supplier of information systems and equipment, including electronic cash registers. Produce Palace had shelled out $100,000 for the 10-register system in April 1995. According to the lawsuit, Produce Palace was promised that the TEC system would meet their needs better than any of the products of TEC's competitors and that they'd have a system free of problems. Instead, the grocery store says it bought a system that couldn't process credit cards that expired on, or after, the year 2000. The system was down 150 of the first 500 days that it was online. The lawsuit was recently settled for $260,000. Produce Palace attorney Brian Parker calls it a "nuts-and-bolts warranty litigation case."

-- Rob Michaels (, February 26, 1999.

Source: Chicago Tribune - By Cornelia Grumman Tribune Staff Writer February 26, 1999


(Thanks to poster "Deborah " for the tip on this article. It is an example of failures that are directly attributable to when testing is not performed, or performed incompletely. Excerpts follow)

Commonwealth Edison apologized Thursday for the problems thousands of its 3.4 million customers have been experiencing in recent months because of bugs in its new customer information system. The state's largest utility took out large ads in major Northern Illinois newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, expressing regret "for any inconvenience, concern and frustration the billing problems may have caused you."

Since July, at least 200,000 customers--including residential, commercial and industrial--have experienced headaches ranging from no bills to estimated bills, late payment charges for bills they never received and trouble getting through to customer service agents. ComEd traces the problems to the hurried installation last July of an Andersen Consulting system. Worried about Year 2000 compliance, new tax laws and last August's 15 percent discount for residential customers, utility officials wanted the new billing and metering software activated before fully testing it.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 26, 1999.

It looks like I have had y2k problems already.

I have a computer at work where I write backs of bulletins for my church from a Bible base rather than the canned ones we had before. I also do CAD drawings for a major oil company where I work.

On February the 8th everything with the computer was fine. The 9th was a day off. When I got to work on the 10th my computer would not work right in the word processing area. When I tried to make something bold it changed the font from 12 to 8. Many of the other commands were messed up different ways.

I straightened up the paper I was working on and saved it. On the morning of the 11th the paper that I had saved the night before was messed up again in the same way only the commands worked a little different than the day before.

After 2 hours of fighting the problem, I noticed that the date displayed was Feb. 11, 2000 rather than the 1999 date that it should have showed. My computer is sometimes played with on my days off by other workers and someone must have wanted to try the 2000 date to see if it would work or it just changed itself.

I then changed the date back to 1999 and the word processing program started working right immediately. The paper that was messed up was straightened out. I did not even have to reboot.

The next week someone had changed the date to 2002 and nothing would print. It gave me the message that the cable to the printer was disconnected. I changed the date to 1999 and everything worked ok.

The plant I work in separates gasoline, propane, ethane and helium out of natural gas with the end product home heating gas. We are now having problems out of new equipment that uses a computer for the brain.

One control controls the amount of acid added to water to keep the PH right. It sometimes is right and sometimes it just drifts off to where it wants to. We have replaced it, calibrated it and checked it in every way. No one can figure out how it can be right for a few days then change in a moment. We wonder if y2k is already here.

We think that a computer that drifts off may be worse than one that quits. The drifting could cause a large amount of acid to be dumped into the cooling water and then eat up copper in heat exchangers. This could be very expensive and a major problem. If it would just quit we would know it in a short period of time. Multiply this problem by thousands and worse, the creation of doubt about our equipment is giving us the right information would be a disaster.

The problems we are having are too long to list here. SCADA equipment seems to be the worse.

May the Lord be with you,

Jim Johnson

-- Jim Johnson (, February 27, 1999.

Source: NRC Office of the Executive Director for Operations - Weekly Information Report


(Here is an excerpt from the weekly report of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding a Y2K Failure)

Peach Bottom Unit 2: Loss of Plant Monitoring System Computers During Y2K Testing

On February 8, 1999, while performing testing for a Y2K remediation modification to the Unit 2 rod worth minimizer (RWM) system, operators experienced a lock-up of both the primary and backup plant monitoring system (PMS) computers. As a result, operators also lost the following PMS-supported systems for about seven hours: safety parameter display system (SPDS), emergency response data system (ERDS), and 3D Monicore thermal limit monitoring system. Engineers had taken the backup PMS computer off-line and had advanced the PMS clock to a year 2000 Date. This led to a lockup of the backup PMS, and the system transferred to the primary, on-line PMS computer. The engineers did not recognize that the system had transferred and, believing that the original command was not accepted, again advanced the system clock, causing the primary PMS to lock up also. Several initial attempts to restore the PMS computers were unsuccessful, and operators determined that this constituted a major loss of emergency assessment capability. The PMS computers are not Y2K compliant, but the engineers believed that this would not impact the testing. Operators did not expect the testing would affect the on-line PMS computer. However, before the testing began, operators took contingency actions to lower Unit 2 power slightly to ensure shift average power levels were not exceeded. The licensee plans to perform a full root cause analysis of this event.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 28, 1999.

in the michiana area (indiana/michigan border), i know of a couple dozen companies that are still unable to close their books for 1999.

-- jocelyne slough (, March 01, 1999.

Uh-oh, Rob, this is linked on Gary North's site today! No wonder we're in Server Busy mire -- LOL

Also see

Some Failures Described By Oregonian Article

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, March 01, 1999.

Thanks, Rob, incredible project.

-- Awed Old Git (, March 01, 1999.

Ashton & Leska: Thanks for the heads up I'll check it out.

Old Git: :)

-- Rob Michaels (, March 01, 1999.

Not such a big deal, I guess, but I witnessed it and found it rather ominous...

Our office computer systems are networked, both in our office and to our other offices around the world. We are currently using Microsoft Outlook '97 for e-mail, calendaring, etc. On March 1, 1999, an employee attempted to print a calendar page from February 22, 1999, and it came out blank, with the date February 22, 2099 printed at the top. She could view the page correctly on her screen, but could not make it print correctly.

Tests of other computers on the system found the identical problem, which was attributed by our IS people to a Y2K non-compliance problem with Outlook. We are now upgrading to Outlook '98, and I suppose we'll see how well that works....

-- Kirsten Oschwald (, March 03, 1999.

Well, you have a list of computer and program problems and failures. So, what? Computers are computers. Programs are programs. They are subject to problems and errors and redoing and correcting. It is difficult to anticapate all uses and all conditions.

Simply to write a program to detect operator mistakes and errors and allow for them is difficult to do.

You have a fine cronicle of things not working right.

Some are 1999 problems, some are other problems. Not one is a demonstration of a Y2000 problem. Y2K problems are supposed to arise because of computers doing something they do not do. They have never done and will not do. That is mistake the date. Computers cannot do that.

In many ways your list and your reasoning is as illogical as the original premise in 1984 concerning Y2K. It is still CHICKEN LITTLE logic. "The sky is falling, run! run! run!

Any time anyone conducts a witch hunt there will be bad mistakes made. Any time the mistake is made of confusing irrational thinking for logic, there will be problems caused. Anytime anyone thinks that the United States of America cannot cope with problems after they arise is badly mistaken.

Difficult computer problems are difficult computer problems. They are not Y2K dilemma illustrations. I have about 20 computers of various ages. If they work, they will work whatever year it is. If they don,t work; the problem is no relation to the date or the year.

A program can be written so that all kings of different things could cause the program to fail. The failure could occur because of general errors or an error in handling exactly one specific piece of data. Either way, it is a program error and has nothing to do with the phase of the moon or my last name or the year 2000.

The Y2K dilemma is a hoax. The premise it started on is false, and any conclusions or theories or suppositions based on that theory are false.

Do computer porblems and program errors exist? Yes!! They also have and they always will. Turn the switch on, and sometimes the bulb burns out. Light bulbs are that way and so are computers. As an operator, I can easily do things to make any program non operational and any computer non functioning. What does that mean???

On January 2 we will all be thru celebrating the New Year. If no computers or computer chips function; I can guarantee that we will find a way to resume operation. Computers do not make a corn stalk grow. Computers do not make rain fall. We will simply figure out a way to solve our problems. I can also guarantee that there will be no problems do to it being Jan 2,2000. There may be other problems. There still may be the same problems we had in 1999. Well, if we have any brains, we can solve those problems.

-- Dale R. Ericson (, July 28, 1999.

I am not trying to scare people but it probably will. I have talked to a lot of people and all th top programmers in the world are packing up and heading for the hill

-- J******* A**** (, September 21, 1999.

You have way too much free time on your hands - get a social life and have some fun!!!

-- Bryony Moore (, November 17, 2000.

it is all fake u guys are just taling things that happened and trying to link them to y2k when they really had nuttin to do with it

-- jim kalmany (, March 10, 2004.

Retrospective on the Magnitude of the Problem msg_id=0096YZ

-- Mike (, March 13, 2004.

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