29 Feb 2024

Glitch takes down petrol stations around country

5:22 pm on 29 February 2024
No caption

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

A leap year technical glitch is being blamed for causing outages at fuel stations across the country.

Fuel provider Allied Petroleum and Gull say they are aware of nationwide technical problems affecting motorists across all fuel brands.

RNZ has spoken to one motorist who said he tried four petrol stations this morning and was told the outage was caused by leap day not being factored into the system.

Gull spokesperson Julien Leys confirmed it was a leap day glitch with their technology provider.

"We were aware from this morning about a nationwide technical issue that's affecting motorists across all fuel brands where they can't pay for their fuel."

Leys said Gull was working very closely with self-service payment provider Invenco to try to resolve it as quickly as possible for its customers.

"We do understand it's a software technical glitch to do with leap day," he said.

Gull will have a Discount Day next week to make up for the inconvenience.

Invenco is the self-service payment provider for all fuel providers.

Invenco head of product John Scott took full responsibility but said it was too early to tell the cause of the fault.

"Clearly it shouldn't have happened, we've never had an issue like that ever. At the moment, we've worked on the fix, I actually haven't gone to try and echo the stones and blame anyone, we're just trying to get it fixed for our customers right now, "Scott said.

About 100 of its customers have been impacted by the outage.

He said the system was expected to be back online by the evening and he was waiting to hear back from other providers if they were satisfied with the fix.

Earlier today, BP said its fuel card transactions were unaffected.

"We are aware of an issue with Eftpos and credit card transactions at Outdoor Payment Terminals (OPTs) at BP truckstops and are sorry for any inconvenience this is causing.

"The provider for these Eftpos and credit card transactions at OPTs nationwide is urgently working on a fix."

Worldline New Zealand said the problem only affected unattended fuel terminals.

"We were advised by the fuel terminal provider of an issue affecting unattended fuel terminal software across New Zealand. This is resulting in transactions not being able to be processed through those terminals.

National Party MP Simeon Brown

Simeon Brown Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

"This issue is specific to those unattended fuel terminals only. In-store fuel station terminals continue to process payment transactions as normal.

"The unattended fuel terminal software provider is currently investigating this issue and working on finding a solution and implementing a fix as quickly as possible."

Transport Minister Simeon Brown said motorists and freight operators would be very frustrated by today's disruption.

"It is frustrating for consumers that the companies' systems have failed to account for February the 29th. Leap years come around every four years and are nothing new.

"I am hopeful that the companies will be able to find a fix to this issue sooner rather than later."

'Going to be very chaotic on a high scale'

A Bay of Plenty transport operator found out about the outage on Thursday morning, when he saw six trucks parked up at a Caltex where other drivers told him they could not get fuel.

Truck company owner Geoff McCaull said it was a major business disruption which would have flow-on effects for goods.

"Well it needs to be sorted straight away, the minister for transport needs to step in and get this issue sorted 'cause the country can't run if trucks aren't operating. If a truck's not getting through, Pak'nSave and the New Worlds aren't getting their groceries then bread, milk won't be getting through," McCaull said.

Drivers could potentially be left stranded, he said.

"If you've got a truck that's from Auckland heading to Wellington how can you fuel up to get to the destination? Say if you've got to fuel up in Waiouru to get them home, they won't be getting home today. It's just going to be very chaotic on a high scale. It's amazing in this day and age something like this can occur."

It also means a loss for his business, McCaull said.

"I won't be able to run a night shift tonight, because I won't be able to get any fuel, so the driver's going to have to stay home and I'm still going to have to pay him."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs