FNB downtime investigation update

The protection and uninterrupted power supply systems of First National Bank (FNB) have been working as designed since experiencing major downtime in March 2012, according to the bank’s chief information officer, Raj Makanjee.

“We have maintained uninterrupted data processing at our centre since the incident on 20 March,” said Makanjee. “A power outage on Tuesday 8 May occurred without interruption to processing.”

Following the downtime in March, FNB issued a statement from CEO Michael Jordaan apologising for the outage and explaining that the problem appeared to have been caused by a power surge “8 times the strength of a typical lightning strike.”

FNB’s statement drew sharp criticism from City Power and Chris Yelland, an energy analyst and electrical engineer.

City Power admitted to a four-second loss in supply “due to an upstream disturbance on the Eskom transmission grid”, but denied a surge.

Yelland said that FNB’s explanation of the surge was technically wrong and meaningless, adding that you would need “very expensive sophisticated, high speed equipment to measure such a surge.”

Responding to City Power and Yelland’s comments, Makanjee provided the folllowing statement:

  • Evidence we have on site lead us to the initial assessment of the cause of the incident. Our reports reflect events as they occurred.
  • We made several attempts to contact City Power at the time of the outages without success to assist us in understanding the cause of the problems we experienced.
  • We have requested City Power as our electricity service provider to provide us with a detailed report of what happened so that we can substantiate their report.
  • We have engaged engineers who investigate similar incidents to provide an expert view.

After requesting an update from FNB regarding the investigation into the cause of the previous downtime, Makanjee said: “Our consultants indicate that a full evaluation of the incident will take months to complete.”

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FNB downtime investigation update