1Y2kCC summary report on Y2k glitches experienced worldwide

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03 February 2000

Text: IY2KCC Summary Report on Y2K Glitches Experienced Worldwide

(Center says impact of problems has been limited) (3100)

The International Y2K Cooperation Center, based in Washington, released a summary report February 3 on Y2K glitches experienced worldwide since January 1.

Following is the text of an IY2KCC press release on the report, followed by the text of the report itself:

(begin text)

Numerous Y2K Glitches Experienced Globally, Impact Limited International Y2K Cooperation Center Releases Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The center created under the auspices of the United Nations to minimize Y2K impact today released a summary report on glitches experienced throughout the world since January 1, 2000.

"Judging from the types of glitches being reported, it appears the world has hurdled this historic transition to the Age of Networks without serious or permanent disruption," said Bruce W. McConnell, director of the International Y2K Cooperation Center (IYCC). "Our measured strategy of devoting significant resources to tackling critical infrastructure first and saving less critical problems for later has worked. There is work still being done, but the world is managing smoothly."

McConnell said that while "reporting minor Y2K glitches is probably not the highest priority for most organizations at this point," the IYCC's International Y2K Glitch Report "gives a good sampling of the types of Y2K glitches being experienced around the globe."

The six-page Global Glitches report is posted on the center website, www.iy2kcc.org. It lists over 50 types of confirmed Y2K glitches typical of those being experienced around the world. The majority of glitches reported were in the government services sector, including financial management systems and customs. The health and hospital sector reported the next largest number of glitches.

Examples in all sectors included minor problems with accounting, payroll, registration, scheduling and ticket dispensing systems, credit card machines, and a variety of incorrect display dates not affecting the actual operations of office and medical equipment.

Local incidents included: malfunctions of kidney dialysis machines in Nicaragua and Scotland; military satellite failures in France and the United States; problems with control and surveillance systems at a water treatment plant in Sweden; malfunctioning taxi meters in Nanjing, China; problems with police department alcohol breath testing machines in Hong Kong; problems with certain blood gas analyzers, ultrasound machines, blood pressure monitors, or other medical equipment in Bolivia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela; parking meter and cash register problems in Sweden; disruptions in telecommunications service in Nigeria and Zambia; malfunctions in non-critical devices at two of the nine nuclear power plants in Spain; loss of heat and water at an apartment building in the Republic of Korea; problems not seriously affecting the operations of aluminum plants in the Republic of Korea and Venezuela; and television transmission problems in Zanzibar and Tanzania. For all of the problems, the services dependent on the affected systems are being provided today without difficulty.

Previously, on January 3, 2000, the IYCC issued a global alert concerning certain kidney dialysis machines. The automatic disinfecting feature did not operate properly, risking transmission of infection from one patient to the next. No injuries have been reported.

McConnell cautioned that Y2K work must continue to avoid future degradation of service from management systems that could affect operations over the long-term. He added, "We are working with the European Commission and the World Bank to support ongoing work in the Russian nuclear energy industry. In other sectors, we expect a dwindling number of localized glitches over the weeks ahead. We are confident these will be handled by the affected organizations in the course of normal operations."

McConnell said a complete evaluation of the international efforts conducted by the IYCC will be released later in February and will be posted on the center website. The IYCC is scheduled to disband March 1, 2000. "I expect we'll conduct an informal watch during the leap date, but expect no problems to require international attention," McConnell opined.

Y2K refers to possible computer and automated control system malfunctions when the year changes from 1999 to 2000. Many computers and automated systems are engineered to handle only two-digit year formats, and could make mistakes or stop working when they encounter "00" in the date field.

The IY2KCC was established in February 1999 under United Nations auspices with World Bank funding in response to the need to coordinate efforts to update computer and automated control systems around the world to transition smoothly to the year 2000.

(end text)

Following is the text of the IY2KCC summary report on glitches:

(begin text)

Bolivia: Customs failure at Puetro Suarez, Land property registration glitches, minor glitches at a public office in Cobija, health diagnosis equipment failure, and accounting software (SINCOM) failed. All fixed.

China: A few mid to small businesses' financial systems experienced failure

China: One hotel in QingDao (or HsingTao) reported problem in its control system for room assignment.

China: Taxi meter failure happened in NanJing

Denmark: Second largest bank, UNIBANK, identifies glitch in Unitel payment and information system for corporate clients, but less than 20 clients were affected by the problem. In general only minor problems have been identified in Denmark.

France: Syracuse II military satellite glitch found at ground stations relating to communications.

Gabon: There was a very isolated incident with some accounting systems - but it is being taken care of (has since been apparently resolved).

Gambia: Unremediated Gamtaxnet, an income tax system, is not y2k compliant. Plans are being made to fix, replace and/or upgrade the system. Manual operations are in-place.

Greece: Older models of cash registers throughout Greece are experiencing Y2K glitches, showing the year 1900.

Grenada: A compliant version of the computer systems for customs services was not commissioned as of December 30, 1999, however, manual backup systems proved just as efficient. Compliant systems have been installed.

Grenada: Only the payroll (internal) component of the sole provider of water in Grenada, the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) was not compliant. This situation has been resolved.

Hong Kong: A local area network used by a training department had a file created after the millennium rollover that showed a creation date year 2028 instead of 2000, other functions remained normal. The problem was rectified within one day.

Hong Kong: Instruments used by our police department for 'breath-testing' of drivers who were suspected to have consumed alcohol had problems. All the instruments, 18 in total, failed to provide test results after the new year. The cause was later confirmed to be Y2K-related. All machines were fixed within 10 days.

Iran: In one of the hospitals in Tabriz province, a blood gas analyzer which was not switched off before rollover changed to 1900 and did not function properly. Similar equipment in a nearby hospital was used and normal services are offered.

Italy: Data functions in court systems encountered Y2K date problems at two courthouses (Naples/Venice) and have been solved.

Japan: Exhaustive reporting system collected reports of 47 glitches. These included Shika Nuclear Power Plant's non-power related computer glitch in its weather monitoring and its reporting system; a glitch in the system providing weather information for small planes/helicopters; and mistakes in the printing of 15 ticket distributing systems of Japan Railway.

Kazakhstan: A report was received from Ekibastuz Hydroelectric Power Station-2 that technology processes have been handled manually since January 1, 2000 because the non-Y2K compliant computers had not been replaced due to absence of funds. Manual handling causes certain difficulties, since at every power unit there are 250 devices to be controlled. Kazakh Railway Co. reporting problems which can be fixed by replacing 20 PCs.

Kazakhstan: In one of the government buildings a Y2K problem occurred in the system that controls air conditioning, elevators, etc. After resetting the date to 1999 the system has been functioning normally. Software provided by "Johnson Control Company" needs to be upgraded.

Latvia: Some insignificant failures (records of incorrect date on printed blanks) were eliminated immediately when found in Riga City Customs Office. No other mistakes in transactions or data processing were discovered in customs offices.

Malaysia: As reported earlier on 15 Dec 1999, about 4% of the medical devices in hospitals were confirmed to be not Y2K compliant. Out of this, 192 items would not pose problems as manual overrides were available while about 451 items needed to be upgraded and 524 items replaced. Hence the glitches experienced have been anticipated. During the rollover, Ministry of Health and also the national Y2K Operations Center received reports of minor glitches affecting mostly wrongly displayed/printed dates. These machines were reported to be still in working order. Examples include: -- Failure of Building Automation System (BAS) in the Sibu Hospital and Muar Hospital, causing failure of the air handling unit. This has been bypassed for manual operation; -- CTG machine in Tung Shin Hospital reported to face problem with dates but machine still functioning; -- Failure of patient registration system in Machang Hospital. Manual system utilized; -- Ultrasound machine (model Hitachi EUB 200) in Sultanah Aminah Hospital and (model Aloka)

Malaysia: Reports of problem with billing system in the software programs in several Land Offices and also problems related to wrong dates in the petrol/gas pump display panels of several petrol stations in the country.

Mali: The ferry system in Maly experienced a Y2K breakdown for its Dakar/Bamako itinerary. The information system, developed by CNUCED is used to monitor the transport of merchandise. In addition, the ticket dispensing system has also broken down, due to Y2K. Conversion work is being done to bring these systems back into an operational mode.

Mexico: Some medical equipment (ultrasound, X-rays, clinic analysis) did not date function correctly.

Mongolia: A few railroad ticket counters with outdated computer systems could not function on January 3. The computer problem was fixed on the same day with no major impact.

Namibia: A small government housing tenant database system handling approximately 1000 records does not correctly recognize year 2000 dates. The database runs in a FoxPro version 5 environment that needs upgrading to be Y2K compliant. This only affects a minor record keeping function of the Ministry of Works, Transport, and Communication.

Namibia: Channel 7 Radio Station reported that their advertisement scheduling computer failed to function correctly from 1 January for Y2K related reasons. Advertisements continue to be scheduled and aired as per normal, but are scheduled manually.

Nicaragua: The Supreme Court and Ministry of Agriculture reported minor Y2K problems which were fixed them immediately. Ministry of Health reported date problems with their ultrasound and dialysis machines. As expected, a computer system in the government failed and has already been replaced. The Government has received unconfirmed reports of glitches in private companies.

Nigeria: A minor y2k glitch was experienced in Port-Harcourt refinery where the Network Operating System could not fix the date for the maintenance and material management system. The glitch was cleared and normal operations attained within 3 hours.

Nigeria: Some non-compliant private telephone operators were disconnected due to y2k non-compliance on December 31, 1999. Some of them have complied and were reconnected by January 2, 2000.

Philippines: A few cases of fax machines or other non-critical electronic equipment displaying the wrong date but otherwise functioning well.

Portugal: Government data bases experienced minor Y2K glitches in hospital admissions and payment systems.

Republic of Korea: Apartment Building reported heat and hot water loss due to Y2K.

Republic of Korea: One type of medical devise (density measurement) failed.

Republic of Korea: Aluminum manufacturing plant affected by Y2K.

Rwanda Operating systems for customs failed due to Y2K, contingency plan is to use the manual systems until old systems are replaced by March.

Saudi Arabia: Medical equipment (e.g. electrocardiogram, ultrasound and Arterial blood gases machines) showed date function problems. Some locally designed software experienced glitches with Muslim to western date functions.

Slovakia: On the web page exchange list of one bank, an incorrect date was displayed on January 3rd. The same thing happened to a weekly magazine on January 5th.

Spain: The Spanish Ministry of Industry and Energy was informed of two non-critical Y2k-related glitches at 0:55 a.m. on January 1st, 2000 at two nuclear power plants. The calculation glitch in nuclear power station on Garona was solved immediately, and problems accessing restricted areas in Zorita station were sorted out in two hours. Seven of the nine Spanish nuclear power plants experienced no problems. The Radioactivity Warning System detected no special activity.

Sri Lanka: At Sri Jayawardenapura hospital the "Holter" (24 hr.) E.C.G. Monitoring Unit changed it's date to 1994 with the rollover. The analyzing part of the unit is not compliant and cannot be used. The supplier had given a certificate for this machine purchased in 1996 that it was Y2K compliant. The Holter ECG Monitoring unit was the only unit of its kind in the hospital and is an American instrument. When the date was changed to 2000 manually the machine changed to 2094 and now the analyzer cannot be used.

Sweden: Infrastructure functioned as normal. The comprehensive reporting system indicated, up to mid January, 87 minor Y2K related glitches. The glitches were reported in health care and hospital systems including unable to register new-borne, parking meter problems, isolated cash registry failure, computerized entry to a sport center not working, and control and surveillance system problems in a water treatment plant. Manual operations were put into place and/or systems were fixed in short time. No glitches were hazardous to public health and safety.

Sudan: The interbank communications in two banks (out of ten major banks) was delayed by two days due to Y2K problem in the communications software (an old Novell version ). This was 100 % fixed by local engineers and business continued normally.

Taiwan: A blood pressure measuring machine showed wrong dates on printed report. It happened in Nantou county, Mid-section of Taiwan. It is a small problem and fixed shortly.

Taiwan: Hospital registration problem occurred in Taoyuan county, northern part of Taiwan. It showed wrong dates too. The hospital changed to manual operation. The impact is minor.

Tajikistan: We did notice that a few executing (.exe) files needed to be updated to become Y2K compliant. These updates will be made in the near future. There has been no significant impact on the Tajik people as a result of these problems.

Tanzania: Zanzibar reporting television transmission problems due to usage of a non-compliant PC used for international news gathering.

Turkey: Some minor Y2K glitches in health sector including blood sample analyzing machine, patient monitoring equipment, ultrasonic device, tomography device and dialyses machine in a few hospitals were reported. All of them were corrected or changed.

Uganda: Uganda's examinations authority, UNEB, was unable to install compliant systems in time, but was able to put in place contingency measures to process examinations on time. UNEB handles the Primary Leaving Examinations, Uganda Certificate of Education, and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education exams, as well as the exams for Stenographers and some technical colleges. Uganda's examination board was unable to install compliant systems in time, but put in place contingency plans.

United States: Bank credit card companies reported to financial regulators on January 6 that they have identified, and are taking steps to correct, a potential Y2K glitch involving some credit card transactions. According to the industry, merchants did not make use of free upgrades provided in 1999 for a software package manufactured by CyberCash, Inc; the glitch could produce duplicate postings of charges made after January 1. The problem primarily affects smaller retailers, as larger retailers generally have their own software. Credit card companies normally look for duplicate charges and typically see 2000 to 3000 duplicates out of 100 million transactions a day.

United States: Florida and Kentucky unemployment insurance benefit systems encountered a Y2K glitch in an automated telephone call processing system. The glitch in custom code prevented some claimants from claiming earned income for the week ending 1/1/2000. While ten states use the system, only Florida and Kentucky experienced the glitch. Claimants reporting the problem were provided an alternate means for filing their claims according to state contingency plans. A software-based patch was distributed, enabling the resumption of automated earned income processing.

United States: The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported a Y2K glitch in transferring about $700,000 in tax payments from customers of 60 financial institutions in the region out of $15 billion processed nationally that day.

Venezuela: A biomedical equipment laboratory analyzer optic reader, model ANTMOS LABTEC 2001, manufactured in 1988 shutdown. We have contacted the supplier in order to figure out a solution.

Venezuela: A failure has been detected in one of the major Aluminum manufacturing facilities. A temperature monitoring system had been designed to handle only two digits for the year and was not corrected before the rollover. However, this failure does not represent a major risk for the production process itself. The plant is operating normally in manual mode. This is a customized system designed by third party vendors just for this plant.

Zambia: The Glitch in telecomm was that there was disruption in traffic between Zambia and Malawi and communication between the two countries was not possible due to date related problems. This has been fixed.

Zambia: PCs were affected in all the Government Ministries which run in-house built Financial Management package. Both the PC (Hardware) and the Package were not complaint. They have yet to run the January details. All the ministries run this package for their financial management. The exact problem is that the package picks up the machine date to do some calculation, the date it was picking was 1983, so this could lead to wrong calculations etc. So if it were to be run incorrectly the impact would be a disaster for Finances within Government.

Zimbabwe: The City of Harare's financial system has failed and contingency plans are being implemented. Clerks at Harare Municipality were not adequately trained in the use of a new billing system resulting in delays in sending out bills for water and rates. Training sessions were quickly conducted by the supplier and things returned to normal.

Zimbabwe: Ruwa, the smallest of towns (about 5000 residents) reported that a non-compliant server which drives their financial and billing system went down. They have since resorted to manual operations while a new server is being purchased.

Zimbabwe: Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED), a small government department's custom-made system crashed. They have gone manual.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State)

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), February 04, 2000


This is really good news:

"Impact of [Y2K] problems has been limited."

"[No] serious or permanent disruption."

Let's all hope the good news continues.

-- Sal (salfrank@aol.com), February 04, 2000.

Actually, this list is a joke. There are MANY times this number of "verified" Y2K problems reported in the mainstream media, which have been gathered together and discussed on the several glitch lists including here on TB2000. On a good day, the hard-working posters here on TB2000 almost list more (verified plus rumors, I'll admit) in a single DAY than this ridiculous list gives for a whole month!

This "official" list doesn't even include the U.S. spy satellite/ ground station problem, and the *multiple* nuclear problems in Japan and the U.S., for example. While we can debate and discuss the seriousness of each problem, not to acknowledge them in such an official list is a joke. Bruce McConnell knows better...I am embarrassed on his behalf. I had a higher opinion of him before this.

Having said that, there are interesting items listed that were "new," to me, anyhow. I was struck by the mentions of aluminum plant problems in Venezuela and Korea. Are these smelters or what? The info given is a little vague. Remember the destruction of two aluminum smelters in New Zealand in 1996 (and a third in Tasmania narrowly avoided because of the time zone difference) when computers couldn't handle the 366th day of 1996 and abruptly shut down the facilities? Ya just can't do that with molten metal! Time to call the Roto-rooter man!

One wonders if the software in 1996 was related to the software in the plants mentioned here...

--Andre in southcentral Pennsylvania

-- Andre Weltman (72320.1066@compuserve.com), February 04, 2000.

Interesting report. Keep up the great work Homer! Much of this is new information. Did you notice that almost all of these glitches can be added to the ones that have been reported here and that almost none of the ones reported here (and there are hundereds and hundreds) are on their list. It is also interesting that there are no reports of y2k problems from the oil industry.

-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 04, 2000.

Andre Weltman (72320.1066@compuserve.com), February 04, 2000 wrote:

... Remember the destruction of two aluminum smelters in New Zealand in 1996 (and a third in Tasmania narrowly avoided because of the time zone difference) when computers couldn't handle the 366th day of 1996 and abruptly shut down the facilities?

Lets get the facts right here! There is only ONE aluminum smelter in NZ. It was not destroyed - some of the pot lines solidified. Estimated cost about $US500,000. Yes, they were able to save the Tasmanian smelter from damage as they had 2 hours notice of the problem. One wonders if the software in 1996 was related to the software in the plants mentioned here...

--Andre in southcentral Pennsylvania


-- kiwi (kiwi@kiwi.net), February 04, 2000.

Sorry - I tacked some irrelevant detail onto my previous post. It should read ...

Lets get the facts right here! There is only ONE aluminum smelter in NZ. It was not destroyed - some of the pot lines solidified. Estimated cost about $US500,000. Yes, they were able to save the Tasmanian smelter from damage as they had 2 hours notice of the problem.

-- kiwi (kiwi@kiwi.net), February 04, 2000.

Thanks for the corrections. I am quite sure that the story was circulating several years ago on the 'net (incorrectly, per your post) that there were *two* such smelters involved in the incident on the NZ end. Also, I am quite sure that the story was circulating on the 'net about a total of *$20 million dollars* worth of damage (again, incorrectly, per your post). Presumably the details expanded as the story got passed around...thanks for the correct details.

As far as the word "destroyed," OK, allow me a little laxity of language there. It can't be much fun getting the solidified aluminum out of the production lines! My father-in-law had a career on the production line in a massive steel mill in Buffalo New York (before the industry there collapsed) and he has described to me the processing of the molten metal...you just can't stop suddenly, it really does a nasty number upon the equipment.

Does anyone have any links to a "mainstream" news report on the NZ 1996 episode? All I have ever seen is (apparently error-filled) repeats on the USENET or some such source. I would love to have some "offical" reference to this event.

Despite these inadvertant errors, my question still stands. Anyone know anything about the Ven and Korean cases tantalizingly but briefly mentioned in the International Y2K Cooperation Center report???

--Andre in southcentral Pennsylvania, 35 Jan 2000

-- Andre Weltman (72320.1066@compuserve.com), February 04, 2000.

Andre, I agree with your point of view - I just get tetchy when facts aren't right.

Here's two links to the story plus the info:

http://www.2k-times.com/y2k-a152.htm Quote from The New Zealand Herald Feb. 22 1997. " Apart from misgivings about missing out on New Year parties as the last seconds of 1996 ticked away, it was much like any night for the staff at the Tiwai Point Aluminium smelter in Southland.

Midnight and crisis struck in the same moment. Each of the 660 process control computers that run the smelters potlines hung, their digital chips frozen.

Five pot cells were ruined, leaving New Zealand Aluminium Smelters with a repair bill estimated at more than $1 million (NZ), though the company will not confirm the final cost.

What happened?

It became clear only when Comalco's Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania shut down precisely two hours later: 1996 was a leap year. Unable to cope with an extra day, the computers at Tiwai Pt (New Zealand) and Tasmania (Australia) stalled with expensive consequences"

http://www.granite.ab.ca/year2000/incidents.htm Million-dollar glitch ("The Dominion" -- Wellington, New Zealand, 8 Jan 1997) via NZPA [New Zealand Press Assoc.]

A computer glitch at the Tiwai Pt [place in South Island of New Zealand] aluminium smelter at midnight on New Year's Eve has left a repair bill of more than $1 million [New Zealand Dollars]. Production in all the smelting potlines ground to a halt at the stroke of midnight when the computers shut down simultaneously and without warning. New Zealand Aluminium Smelters' general manager David Brewer said the failure was traced to a faulty computer software program, which failed to account for 1996 being a leap year. The computer was not programmed to handle the 366th day of the year, he said. "Each of the 660 process control computers hung up simultaneously at midnight," Mr. Brewer said.

The same problem occurred two hours later at Comalco's Bell Bay smelter, in Tasmania [Australia]. New Zealand is two hours ahead of Tasmania. Both smelters use the same program, which was written by Comalco computer staff.

Mr. Brewer said the cause was difficult to trace and it was not till a telephone call in the morning from Bell Bay that the leap year link was made. "It was a complicated problem and it took quite some time to find out just what caused it."

Tiwai staff rallied through the night to operate the potlines manually and try to find the cause. The glitch was fixed and normal production restored by midafternoon. However, by then, the damage has been done. Without the computers to regulate temperatures inside the pot cells, five cells over-heated and were damaged beyond repair. Mr. Brewer said they would have to be replaced at a cost of more than $1 million.

-- kiwi (kiwi@kiwi.net), February 05, 2000.

What we're going to find is a tendency to understate y2k glitches and a tendency to overstate the general health of the company. This is because it is stock price, and not actual earnings, which has made so many so rich. Never-the-less, productivity is the key to earnings in a atmosphere of peak demand.

-- Okie Dan (brendan@theshop.net), February 06, 2000.


Agree with you about the facts. This smelter story has I think taken on a life of its own.

Thanks so much for the links, will certainly add this to my files. A fascinating example of how computers can cause "big" real-world problems, it sure isn't limited to accounting systems in the back room.

--Andre in southcentral Pennsylvania

-- Andre Weltman (aweltman@health.state.pa.us), February 08, 2000.

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